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08 Feb 2021 | 17:28

Europe close: Stocks jump amid optimism for US fiscal stimulus and vaccines

(Sharecast News) - European shares started the second week of February higher amid continuing optimism over the odds of the US Covid stimulus package successfully navigating Congress.

Investor sentiment was also boosted by a €4.9bn takeover offer for Dialog Semiconductor.

"Global markets continue to advance on a broad front, and even the lacklustre FTSE 100 has managed to put its best foot forward in trading today," said IG's chief market analyst, Chris Beauchamp.

"The positive atmosphere has been bolstered rather than hindered by the lack of any significant data today, helping markets to focus on the high level issues rather than get bogged down by any detail."

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.3% to 410.78 with all major Continental bourses higher. Italy's FTSE MIB outperformed with a 1.48% rise as Mario Draghi secured initial support from two key parties in his efforts to form a unity government.

Basic Resources led the advance on the Stoxx 600 with a gain of 2.15%, followed by a 1.49% jump for the Technology sector index and a 1.22% rise for another tied to Oil&Gas.

Front-dated Brent meanwhile was up 2.1% to $60.57 a barrel on the ICE.

London stocks extended gains too as coronavirus cases declined again, with the FTSE 100 up 0.53% at 6,523.53.

For the moment at least, markets appeared to be taking the spread of various covid variants and concerns over the efficacy of AstraZeneca's vaccine against a South African strain of the virus in their stride.

In equity news, shares in German computer chip maker Dialog Semiconductor soared 16% after it agreed a takeover by Japan's Renesas Electronics Corp.

Italian banks were higher on hopes of political stability, with UniCredit and Banco BPM up by 3% and 6% at the close.

Rolls-Royce was under pressure on news it is temporarily closing its jet engine factories for two weeks this summer as it moves to save cash amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Experian was in the red after the credit-checking firm said it is carrying out a forensic investigation following media reports of a data breach involving its Serasa business in Brazil, but that there is no evidence its technology systems have been compromised.
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