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Europe close: Stocks head into weekend with gains on recovery hopes

Fri 26 March 2021 17:42 | A A A

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(Sharecast News) - European shares held onto their moderate gains on Friday, driven by hopes of a strong US recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and positive UK retail sales data.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was up 0.91% to 426.93, alongside a 0.87% advance to 14,748.94 for the German Dax while Spain's Ibex 35 bounced back 1.05% to reach 8,498.2.

"Global markets are finishing the week on a stronger note overall, having started to rebound yesterday on Wall Street, a move that carried over into the Asian session and then on to Europe," said IG chief market analyst Chris Beauchamp.

"Wall Street has continued the run, although the looming end of the month and quarter will mean that is hard to derive a firm conclusion on the direction of risk appetite."

Stoking investor optimism was the Biden administration's new goal, announced the day before, of administering 200.0m doses in its first 100 days in office, a target that seemed readily achievable, and hopes that a jobs rebound was already under way.

In equity news, shares in UK insurer Aviva rose after the company sold its Polish unit to Allianz for €2.4bn. Allianz shares were also higher.

Smiths Group gained after it increased its interim dividend and said it was confident about meeting expectations for annual results as profit fell in the first half.

London-listed copper miner Kaz Minerals rose 2.9% after it received a final bid worth £4.02bn from Nova Resources.

Miners rose on higher metals prices while oil giants Shell and BP were on the rise as oil prices pushed up on concerns that a ship blocking the Suez Canal could squeeze crude supplies.

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