AMSTERDAM/LONDON: European stocks stayed near record levels on Wednesday, helped by energy and consumer stocks, while strong economic data from the United States and Europe buoyed investor sentiment in a mostly quiet day of trading.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index traded 0.3% higher, holding just below its all-time high hit in the previous session.
Data showing a strong expansion in US and European factory activity in May lifted world shares to fresh highs on Tuesday, with investors awaiting US jobs data on Friday for confirmation of a solid recovery in the world’s largest economy.
Oil and gas stocks rose 0.9% to lead sectoral gains in Europe as crude prices extended gains after OPEC and its allies stuck to their plan to cautiously bring back supply to the markets in June and July.
Swedish truckmaker Volvo rose 3.5% as its board proposed that the proceeds from the sale of UD Trucks be distributed to shareholders.
Danish luxury TV and stereo maker Bang & Olufsen jumped 9.6% after providing an upbeat full-year earnings forecast.
German broadcaster ProsiebenSat.1 Media slipped 4.2% after Chief Executive Officer Rainer Beaujean said it “does not need any help from outside” amid calls to consolidate the European broadcasting industry.
Stocks considered more stable at times of market uncertainty - such as food and beverage and real estate - also found favour, while tech and miners gained. “Markets are making steady progress this afternoon, although a lack of macro drivers have left things a little dull,” said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG.