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AMSTERDAM/LONDON: European shares ended higher on Thursday as a rally in crude prices saw energy stocks surge more than 2%, while strong earnings reports helped dispel some concerns over the infectious “Delta” variant of the coronavirus.

The pan-European STOXX 600 closed 0.6% higher at 455.63 points, with energy stocks marking their best day in one month. Energy services provider TechnipFMC Plc was the top gainer in the sector, adding 4.4%.

Travel-related stocks jumped 1.9% after falling for four days in a row on fears of more restrictions following a spike in the number of Covid-19 cases in Asia and the United Kingdom. Airlines EasyJet, British Airways-owner IAG and Ryanair rose between 1.5% and 4%.

The STOXX 600 was now within 1% of a record high hit in June, as growing optimism over a vaccine-led economic recovery this year saw sentiment jump to a 21-year high.

Germany’s DAX rose 0.5% as data showed retail sales in Europe’s biggest economy rebounded in May.

Technology stocks, which had outperformed through the pandemic, were the sole losers for the day, down 0.7%. Investors were likely comfortable in pivoting to sectors more exposed to an economic recovery.

Associated British Foods rose 4.8% as it said third-quarter sales at its Primark fashion stores that reopened after Covid-19 lockdowns were ahead of expectations in all markets.—Reuters

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