AMSTERDAM/LONDON: European stocks reached record highs on Monday as miners led gains after commodity prices surged and optimism about the reopening of economies and easy monetary policy lifted sectors that typically benefit from a recovery.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.1%, ending at an all-time high, with miners rallying 2.3% to a 10-year-high.
London-listed miners, such as Rio Tinto, BHP Group and Glencore rose between 1.7% and 2.6%. China’s benchmark iron ore futures and steel futures hit all-time highs, and copper prices touched record highs on expectations of improved demand amid tightening supply.
“The boom in commodity prices is good news for the materials or the cyclical sectors,” Rupert Thompson, chief investment officer at Kingswood Group in London, said.
“It cements the idea that you’ve got further rotation towards value and commodity sectors. But on the other hand, you’ve got the clear risk that it does exacerbate worries about inflation.”
Investors will monitor US inflation data later this week to gauge if a strong rise in prices will drive the Federal Reserve to change its policy stance. Weaker-than-expected US jobs data on Friday boosted expectations interest rates will remain lower for longer.
London’s FTSE 100 fell 0.1% hurt by a surge in the pound as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to announce the next phase of reopening from the COVID-19 lockdown.
The European travel and leisure sector declined 1.4%, with highly valued technology stocks dropping 2.4%.
The earnings season entered the home stretch, with about two-thirds of STOXX 600 companies having reported their first-quarter results. About three-quarters of those companies have topped profit estimates, Refinitiv IBES data shows. French lender Societe Generale rose 2.9% on plans to pare back risk exposure in its global markets business and focus more on financing and advising on deals.
British bakery and fast-food chain Greggs jumped 10.5% after it raised its profit outlook. “With earnings season winding down and strong seasonality now behind us for the time being it looks like indices will continue to struggle,” said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG.