(Bloomberg) — European stocks edged higher Friday, reaching a new record, as an increase in U.S. hiring boosted optimism over the economic recovery and assuaged concerns about the rollback in monetary stimulus.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 0.4% by the close in London, with technology, miners and health care sectors leading the advance. Megacap tech stocks also led U.S. equities higher. Italy’s FTSE MIB Index closed at the highest level since October 2008.
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European shares kicked off June with several new historical highs, as market participants evaluate signs of economic recovery and risks from faster inflation. As U.S. jobs growth picked up in May but missed economists’ estimates, investors were reassured that stimulus measures will remain in place.
“This Goldilocks scenario of a labor market recovery that is not too cold to raise concerns about the economy, but not too hot to prompt fears about faster than expected monetary policy tightening, is supportive of equity markets,” said Mike Bell, global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management.
U.S. employers added 559,000 jobs last month, just below the average forecast. Investors are assessing what the report means for the strength of the U.S. economy and the Federal Reserve’s next steps with monetary policy.
The European stocks benchmark is up 13% this year, buoyed by expectations of economic reopening and lifting of lockdowns. Equities have become “overvalued” in terms of valuation metrics, particularly in Europe, as the rebound in corporate results isn’t as strong as in the U.S., according to Florent Delorme, macro strategist at M&G Investments.
Still, “it’s too early to sell equities in the U.S. and Europe as consensus accepts lower equity returns and wants to believe in the upside,” Delorme said in emailed comments.
European banks fell the most today, losing 0.9%, as ING Groep NV declined following a ratings downgrade. Among other notable movers, Fingerprint Cards AB slumped as much as 15% after withdrawing guidance.
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