PARIS: European shares climbed on Monday, tracking a strong rally on Wall Street, while investors looked forward to a key US inflation reading and a raft of economic data from the euro zone this week.

The pan-European STOXX 600 ended up 0.5%, inching closer to the two-year highs it hit earlier this month, while the euro zone blue-chip STOXX50E index was at levels not seen since 2001.

Real estate shares led most European sectoral indexes higher with gains of 1.6%, followed by retailers , which advanced 1.4% Across the Atlantic, investors will closely monitor the US January consumer price index (CPI) reading on Tuesday for clues on the potential timing of a rate cut by the Federal Reserve.

Headline consumer inflation is expected to slow on both a monthly and yearly basis.

There is optimism “that tomorrow’s CPI print from the US will again confirm inflationary pressures are heading lower still”, said Stuart Cole, chief macro economist at Equiti Capital.

Cole added that European stocks are also getting a lift from the recent rally on Wall Street. The S&P 500 closed above 5,000 for the first time on Friday, propelled by bets on the potential for artificial intelligence.

This week is also packed with domestic economic data, including fourth-quarter euro zone GDP growth, consumer price inflation from Spain and other regions, and ZEW economic sentiment surveys.

Italian stocks outperformed regional peers with a 1.0% increase, hitting their highest level since June 2008. The UK’s FTSE 100 was a laggard, ending flat.

Also supporting equities was a fall in European bond yields following dovish remarks from ECB Governing Council member Fabio Panetta on Saturday.

On Monday, ECB board member Piero Cipollone said the central bank does not need to dampen the euro zone economy even more to get inflation under control.

Among individual movers, shares of Tod’s surged 18.4% after private equity firm L Catterton offered to buy 36% of the luxury shoemaker and take it private.

Saras dropped 3.7% as global commodity trader Vitol agreed to buy 35% of the oil refiner from Italy’s Moratti family at 1.75 euros per share, valuing the entire group at 1.7 billion euros.

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