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15 Feb 2021 | 11:34

Europe midday: Shares shrug off Eurozone data, travel stocks higher

(Sharecast News) - European shares extended gains at lunchtime on Monday, fuelled by post-Covid economic recovery hopes and a surge in Japan's Nikkei index.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 rose 0.93% with all major regional bourses higher. Higher oil and copper prices were also a key driver. Trading volumes were expected to be thin with markets in China, Hong Kong and the US all shut for local holidays.

Shares rose despite data showing Eurozone industrial output falling more than expected in December as manufacturing of capital goods dropped.

Industrial production dropped 1.6% from the month before, European Union statistical agency Eurostat said. The reading was worse than analysts' average forecast for a 0.6% drop and marked a downturn after 2.6% growth in November.

Japanese shares shone, with the benchmark Nikkei index breaching 30,000 for the first time in three decades.

Airline and travel stocks were all higher as the UK government said it had met its target to offer a Covid vaccine jab to all people aged 70 and above and had now targeted the 65-69 aged group. This boosted hopes of an easing of curbs sooner rather than later.

Shares in British Airways owner IAG, budget carrier easyJet and travel operator TUI were rose on expectations of some foreign travel this summer.

Elsewhere, Bollore surged 12% as French media giant Vivendi said it planned to distribute 60% of Universal Music's capital to investors and aimed to list its most-prized asset by the end of the year. Vivendi stock soared by 15.7%.

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