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CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Upbeat German data lifts European shares; Puma, AstraZeneca weigh

Published Feb 24, 2021 18:28 Updated Feb 24, 2021 18:40
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(Corrects Reuters Instrument Code for technology stocks in
paragraph 9)
* Germany's DAX leads gains as GDP grows more than expected
* AstraZeneca (NASDAQ:AZN) to deliver fewer-than-expected vaccines to EU
* Sportswear maker Puma drops as lockdowns affect sales
* UK banker Lloyds gains on resuming dividends

Feb 24 (Reuters) - European shares rose on Wednesday,
supported by stronger-than-expected growth in Germany's economy,
although concerns over a possible rise in inflation and lofty
equity valuations kept gains in check.
The pan-European STOXX 600 .STOXX was up 0.5%, with
Germany's DAX .GDAXI leading regional gains as data showed
bullish exports and solid construction activity helped Europe's
biggest economy to grow by a stronger-than-expected 0.3% in the
fourth quarter. Travel stocks .SXTP jumped 1.1% to hover near one-year
highs on optimism around major countries lifting
coronavirus-induced lockdowns, while construction .SXOP and
retail .SXRP stocks rose 1.1% and 0.9%, respectively.
"The market has fallen recently due to lofty valuations, but
investors are becoming more accepting of the fact that as
European economies slowly reopen and earnings improve, the
current equity valuations could be justified," said Chris
Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG Group.
The benchmark STOXX 600 has rebounded nearly 50% from its
March 2020 lows, also led by historic stimulus measures, but it
has still far underperformed a 75% jump in the U.S. S&P 500
.SPX .
U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell reiterated on
Tuesday that interest rates will remain low despite indications
of rising inflation, assuaging some fears of a sudden tapering
in monetary stimulus. "While another stimulus package will certainly be welcomed
by market participants, inflation fears are still present,
despite those concerns being downplayed by officials," said
Milan Cutkovic, market analyst at Axi.
"As more countries are planning the reopening of their
economies, the focus could slowly shift back to value stocks."
So-called "value" stocks, including industrial goods makers
.SXNP , outperformed growth-oriented technology stocks .SX8P
for a third straight day on Wednesday.
London's export-heavy FTSE 100 .FTSE rose just 0.1%,
lagging other European stock indexes, as the pound jumped to a
three-year high against the dollar. .L
In company news, AstraZeneca AZN.L dropped 0.7% after it
told the European Union that it expects to deliver less than
half the COVID-19 vaccines it was contracted to supply in the
second quarter. Britain's Lloyds Banking Group's LLOY.L gained 1.6% after
outgoing Chief Executive António Horta-Osório set out fresh
targets to expand the lender's insurance and wealth business and
further cut costs. Consumer goods maker Reckitt Benckiser RB.L gained 0.6%
after recording its strongest sales in its history, while German
sportswear company Puma PUMG.DE dropped 2.9% after saying it
expects a heavy impact on its results from pandemic lockdowns
through the end of the second quarter.

CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Upbeat German data lifts European shares; Puma, AstraZeneca weigh
 

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