European stocks rise as possible 'blue sweep' in Georgia lifts U.S. stimulus hopes

FILE PHOTO: The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, January 5, 2021. REUTERS/Staff

(Reuters) – European stocks rose on Wednesday, with economically sensitive sectors such as energy and banks leading the gains, as investors braced for a Democratic win in crucial U.S. Senate run-off election in Georgia that could drive bigger fiscal stimulus.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.4%, while UK’s FTSE 100 edged 0.8% higher while Germany’s DAX gained 0.3%.

Oil majors BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Total gained as crude prices rose to their highest since February 2020 on Saudi Arabia’s pledge to cut output more than expected in a meeting with allied producers. [O/R]

Banks advanced the most, up 2.5%, while other cyclical sectors such as automakers and insurers added more than 1%.

While the final votes are yet to be counted in the run-off elections, markets appeared to price in a ‘blue wave’ that could usher in larger fiscal stimulus and pave the way for President-elect Joe Biden to push through greater corporate regulation and higher taxes.

In Europe, a pullback in healthcare, food & beverage and tech shares capped gains in major bourses.

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