(Reuters) – European stocks were subdued on Friday, but marked their longest weekly winning streak since November 2019, with hopes of a rapid pick-up in economic growth offsetting doubts about the country’s COVID-19 vaccination program. eurozone.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.1% after hitting an all-time high at the opening, while the UK’s blue-chip FTSE 100 slipped 0.4%.
Global sentiment was bolstered by the US Federal Reserve’s promise to keep its super-easy politics in place even as data showed the world’s largest economy was shifting into high gear.
London stocks have outperformed this week, with the domestically-focused FTSE mid-cap index hitting a record high as Britain gradually emerges from a strict winter coronavirus lockdown.
“While the UK and US have been relatively successful in rolling out vaccination, mainland Europe has fallen behind,” said Dhaval Joshi, chief strategist at BCA Research.
“But they’ll fix it later this year. You will see an early rebound in the economies of the United Kingdom and the United States from the second quarter. In continental Europe, it will be later this year rather than Q2. “
European stocks hit a series of all-time highs this week, despite setbacks on the vaccination front after European regulators found a potential link between AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine and reports of rare brain blood clots.
“The year has been without a major correction so far, and with equity entries continuing to reach new multi-year highs, the sense of ‘irrational exuberance’ is strengthening again,” said Chris Beauchamp , Chief Market Analyst at IG.
“Some caution appears to be the conservative approach until a more complete conclusion can be drawn.”
Investors will focus on the U.S. earnings season next week, with S&P 500 company profits expected to rise 25% in the first quarter, according to the estimate by Refinitiv IBES.
Airbus rose 0.3% after the French aircraft manufacturer announced slightly higher deliveries in the first quarter.
Vacation company TUI fell 2.1% after saying it was raising 350 million euros ($ 416.33 million) through a convertible bond issue to bolster its finances and pay off debt.
British American Tobacco fell 2.5%, among the biggest drag on STOXX 600, after JP Morgan downgraded the stock to “neutral”.
Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bangalore; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Mark Heinrich