European stocks close higher, tracking positive moves in global markets

  • European investors kept an eye on developments in the deployment of coronavirus vaccines after tensions last week over supplies.
  • Global markets started the week on a positive note despite worries over the speculative retail trading mania from last week.

LONDON — European stocks closed higher on Monday, echoing positive market sentiment elsewhere.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 climbed 1.2% by the market close, with tech shares adding 2.4% to lead gains as all sectors bar oil and gas entered positive territory.

European markets started the trading week on a positive note along with their global counterparts, despite turbulent trading last week after retail investors prompted what Goldman Sachs has called the biggest short squeeze in 25 years.

On Wall Street, stocks also rose Monday as investors appeared to shake off concerns about the speculative retail trading mania that drove up the prices of heavily-shorted stocks like GameStop and AMC Entertainment.

Another busy week of earnings is coming up with 99 S&P companies set to report; Alphabet, Amazon, Alibaba, Snap, Exxon, Biogen, Pfizer and Chipotle are among the names set to report this coming week. 

European investors are keeping an eye on developments in the deployment of coronavirus vaccines after tensions last week over supplies of the vaccine, particularly from AstraZeneca, and criticism over the speed of the vaccine rollout in the EU.

On the data front, euro zone unemployment held steady at 8.3% in December, the EU's statistics office confirmed on Monday. Eurostat said 13.671 million people were unemployed across the common currency bloc in December, up from 13.616 million in November.

Meanwhile British manufacturing grew at its slowest pace for three months in January as Brexit and Covid-19 weighed on orders. The final IHS Markit/CIPS manufacturing PMI (purchasing managers' index) reading came in at 54.1, down from a spike of 57.5 in December as businesses raced to beat the Jan. 1 Brexit deadline.

In terms of individual share price movement, precious metals miner Fresnillo jumped nearly 9% as the Reddit-fueled frenzy for highly-shorted stocks spilled into silver, sending futures surging.

Toward the bottom of the European blue chip index, France's Klepierre slid 7.5% after announcing that 70% of its malls had been affected by coronavirus restrictions across Europe.

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