European stocks hovered near record highs on Monday despite soaring cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant across Europe and elsewhere.
Sentiment was underpinned after HS Markit’s final manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) came in at 58.0 in December, matching an initial flash estimate and raising hopes that growth rates could better in 2022.
The pan European Stoxx 600 rose 0.6 percent to 490.46, a tad lower than its November record high of 490.58, after having ended flat with a negative bias on Friday.
The German DAX climbed 0.8 percent and France’s CAC 40 index added 1 percent, while the U.K. markets were closed for a public holiday.
Zurich Insurance Group AG shares rose about 1 percent. The Swiss insurer announced that its Italian unit Zurich Investments Life S.p.A. has agreed to sell its life and pension back book to the Portuguese insurance company GamaLife – Companhia de Seguros de Vida, S.A.
Ahold Delhaize edged up slightly. The Dutch operator of supermarkets, convenience stores, hypermarkets, and others, said that it has started 1 billion-euros share repurchase program, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.
Deutsche Wohnen shares rallied 2.5 percent. The German property company said it has appointed Konstantina Kanellopoulos and Lars Urbansky as co-chief executive officers. Philip Grosse will remain Chief Financial Officer until 31 March 2022.
Evotec AG, a drug discovery and development company, fell 2.4 percent. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research has selected the company for a grant of 7.5 million euros, for the development of EVT075, a potential first-in-class immunomodulatory therapy to fight Covid-19.
Automakers rose broadly after monthly sales reports from several global automakers. Volkswagen, BMW and Renault jumped 2-3 percent.
Airline Lufthansa soared 6.3 percent after Citi upgraded the stock rating.