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22 Mar 2021 | 16:53

Europe close: Stock markets for the most part look past lockdowns to recovery

(Sharecast News) - European shares finished on a mixed note at the start of the week despite news of lockdown measures being reimposed or extended across much of Europe. Helping to boost investor sentiment early on were the positive results from AstraZeneca's Covid vaccine trials in the US.

A wave of positive research from top strategists at Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan likely also fed the risk-on mood.

"Continued references to a 'third wave' of the virus in Europe have dampened sentiment towards the region, but the US' progress on the vaccine front points the way to a resurgent economy in due course," was IG chief market analyst Chris Beauchamp's take on matters.

"The yield narrative is giving way again to the rebounding economy story, one buttressed by a very cautious Fed outlook."

Against that backdrop, the pan-European STOXX 600 was up 0.19% at 424.17, with Technology issues at the fore, advancing 1.78%.

Alongside, the German Dax gained 0.25% to 14,657.21, helped by gains for BMW, Porsche and Volkswagen.

To take note of, in the afternoon, Berlin announced that current Covid-19 restrictions in the euro zone's largest economy would be prolonged until 18 April.

Spain's Ibex 35 however suffered a hefty 1.76% drop to 8,353.5, as shares of lender BBVA tracked the sharp overnight drop in the Turkish lira after the governor of the country's central bank was ousted.

Other euro zone banks exposed to Turkey included Italy's UniCredit, France's BNP Paribas, and Dutch bank ING.

IAG also dragged on the Madrid bourse's top-flight index amid speculation that tough UK restrictions on foreign travel restrictions would not be lifted in early summer, due to the appearance of new Covid-19 strains, such as that from South Africa, in France.

The weakest sectors on the Stoxx 600 were Basic Resources (-1.39%), Banks (-1.24%), and Travel and Leisure (-0.69%).

Shares in budget airline easyJet fell 5.4%, Ryanair followed suit, down 2.3%. Deutsche Lufthansa, TUI, Carnival and Aeroports de Paris were all in the red.

British retailer Kingfisher rose 3.6% after it reported a sharp rise in full-year profit, driven by the popularity of do-it-yourself projects.

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