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UPDATE 2-Wall St sets upbeat tone for European stocks, UK airlines jump

Published 08/19/2020, 04:37 PM
Updated 08/20/2020, 12:30 AM
© Reuters.

(For a live blog on European stocks, type LIVE/ in an Eikon
news window)
* STOXX 600 volatile as summer trading thins volumes
* Danish stocks jump after Maersk, Royal Unibrew results
* Another record session for Wall St boosts mood
* UK airlines gain on hope of shorter quarantine

(Updates to market close)
By Sruthi Shankar
Aug 19 (Reuters) - European stocks closed higher on
Wednesday following new record highs for Wall Street's main
indexes, while UK airlines rallied on hopes of a shorter
quarantine period for travellers.
After a feeble start, the pan-European STOXX 600 .STOXX
climbed 0.7%, with stock markets in Germany, London and France
.GDAXI .FTSE .FCHI all gaining ground.
British Airways-owner IAG ICAG.L surged 7.6% and easyJet
EZJ.L rose 3.3% on news that Britain's government was working
with Heathrow Airport on a plan to use COVID-19 testing to help
shorten quarantine times. The travel sector has come under pressure as several
countries in Europe have imposed new travel curbs because of a
pick-up in coronavirus cases. "A full-blown lockdown looks unlikely," Andrew Kenningham,
chief Europe economist at Capital Economics wrote in a note.
"The second wave will hold back the recovery, but it will
probably not cause another deep recession."
Danish shipping group Maersk MAERSKb.CO , a bellwether for
global trade, issued forecast-beating full-year earnings and
said it expected demand for moving containers at sea to return
to pre-COVID levels in the first half of next year. Its shares
jumped 5.0%. Trillions of dollars in stimulus and a rally in technology
stocks drove the S&P 500 to new record highs, with Apple
AAPL.O becoming the first publicly listed U.S. company to
record $2 trillion in market capitalisation. .N
The U.S. Federal Reserve's minutes from its latest policy
meeting are due later on Wednesday, with investors looking for
clues on further action that the U.S. central bank could take in
September.
Investors were unfazed by data that showed a measure of euro
zone inflation surged in July, surprising many economists who
interpreted the figure as "almost certainly more noise than
signal." Brewery Royal Unibrew RBREW.CO jumped 9.8% to the top of
STOXX 600 after it raised its 2020 earnings forecast.
Utilities took a hit as RWE RWEG.DE fell 4.6% as the
German company launched a share issue to finance its purchase of
wind turbine maker Nordex 's NDXG.DE project development
pipeline. Finland's biggest utility Fortum FORTUM.HE slid 4.9% as it
reported an 11% fall in its underlying second-quarter operating
profit. The biggest decliner on the STOXX 600 was Belgian biotech
company Galapagos GLPG.AS , which slumped 24.4% after U.S.
health regulators rejected its lead product filgotinib to treat
rheumatoid arthritis.

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