Markets

European stocks log best winning streak since 2018; autos rally on Daimler earnings

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Key Points
  • Autos added 2.1% on the back of a bumper earnings report from Daimler.
  • Euro zone inflation ramped up in March, with consumer prices across the bloc rising 0.9% month-on-month, driven primarily by services and energy.

LONDON — European markets continued to rally on Friday after notching record highs the previous session, as investors take heart from strong U.S. economic data and recovery prospects.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended the session up by 0.9%, with autos adding 2.1% on the back of a bumper earnings report from Daimler. All sectors and major bourses finished in positive territory.

For the week, the Stoxx 600 rose 1.1% and completed its seventh straight week of gains, according to Reuters, its longest winning streak since May 2018.

The German automaker reported a surge in first-quarter earnings before interest and tax to 5 billion euros ($6 billion), compared to 719 million euros in the first three months of 2020. Daimler shares added 2.7% by the market close, leading fellow carmakers higher across the continent.

Shares in Europe received a tepid handover from Asia-Pacific, where investors reacted to the release of Chinese economic data. First-quarter gross domestic product and March industrial production missed economist expectations, though GDP grew by a record 18.3%, while March retail sales topped projections.

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On Wall Street, U.S. stocks rose again on Friday as the market's record run carried on amid strong earnings from blue-chip companies as well as solid data signaling a snapback in the economy.

Hopes of a swift global economic recovery were boosted Thursday by data showing U.S. retail sales jumped 9.8% in March, outstripping consensus expectations as additional stimulus sent consumer spending soaring. The Labor Department's latest report on Thursday showed that U.S. jobless claims dropped last week to their lowest since March 2020, adding further upward momentum to stocks.

Euro zone inflation ramped up in March, Eurostat confirmed on Friday, with consumer prices across the bloc rising 0.9% month-on-month, driven primarily by services and energy.

In terms of individual share price movement, Danish hospital equipment maker Ambu jumped 6.1% after Morgan Stanley initiated coverage of the stock with an "overweight" rating.

Finnish retail conglomerate Kesko jumped 4.2% after reporting 16.9% sales growth in March from the same period last year.

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