European Shares Extend Gains On Growth Optimism

European stocks rose for the third straight session on Wednesday amid expectations of a vaccine-powered strengthening of activity later in the year and additional policy support in a few large economies. Strong earnings from Alphabet and also boosted sentiment.

The pan European Stoxx 600 rose half a percent to 408.12 after gaining 1.3 percent on Tuesday. The German DAX gained half a percent, France’s CAC 40 index inched up 0.3 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 was up 0.2 percent.

Novo Nordisk jumped 4.2 percent after the Danish pharmaceutical company gave upbeat sales and profit forecasts for 2021.

Santander advanced 1.6 percent. After meeting its profit guidance for 2020, the Spanish bank said it expects higher profitability this year.

Publicis Groupe shares surged 4.6 percent. After reporting better-than-expected organic growth in Q4, the French advertising agency company said it will hand back all of the salary reductions that 6,000 higher-earning staff voluntarily took during the worst of the coronavirus downturn.

British telecommunications company Vodafone jumped 2.8 percent after re-affirming its earnings targets.

Glencore lost 1 percent after saying its copper and cobalt production fell in 2020.

Siemens advanced 1.6 percent after the German engineering company beat first-quarter expectations and raised its guidance for the year.

Telecommunications company Freenet soared 6.4 percent on share buyback news.

In economic releases, the euro area private sector contracted further in January amid the Covid-19 pandemic as the decline in services was only partially offset by the growth in manufacturing sector, final survey results from IHS Markit showed.

The final composite output index dropped to 47.8 in January from 49.1 in the previous month but was above the flash score of 47.5.

The U.K. services sector activity contracted less-than-expected in January, the final report from IHS Markit revealed.

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