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21 Jan 2021 | 11:44

Europe midday: US stimulus hopes lift shares as investors eye ECB

(Sharecast News) - European shares remained in positive mood as investors awaited action from new US President Joe Biden on the Covid-19 pandemic, including a new fiscal stimulus package to bolster the country's battered economy.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was up 0.58% at lunchtime. Biden announced 17 executive actions, including 15 executive orders, in his first hours, including reversing the Muslim travel ban, halting the construction of the US-Mexico border wall and mandated the wearing of masks and social distancing in federal buildings.

"It appears that Biden isn't messing around. And it is exactly this purposeful and robust approach the markets were hoping for - especially if it leads to his $1.9trn Covid-19 stimulus package escaping the Senate unscathed," said Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell.

Investors were also keeping an eye on the European Central Bank's first meeting of the year and US jobless claims later in the day, with analysts guiding for a fall to 935,000 from 965,000.

In corporate news, Sage Group shares were up after the company said it traded in line with expectations in the first quarter as the business software group's recurring revenue grew strongly.

Tool maker Sandvik rose after the firm reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings.

Spanish cellphone mast operator Cellnex and German telecoms group Deutsche Telekom were both higher after the duo announced a plan to combine their tower business in the Netherlands.

Elsewhere in Spain, Bankinter rose 6.93% despite a 42% fall in annual profits.

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