The Business Times

Europe: Strong business activity lifts shares; London mid-caps at record high

Published Tue, Jul 6, 2021 · 06:05 AM

[BENGALURU] Upbeat eurozone business activity saw European shares reverse session losses on Monday, leaving them just about half a percent away from all-time peaks, while a nearly 12 per cent surge in Morrisons sent London mid-caps to record highs.

Extending gains to a third straight session, the pan-European Stoxx 600 rose 0.3 per cent.

Euro zone businesses expanded activity at the fastest rate in 15 years in June as the easing of more coronavirus restrictions powered the bloc's dominant service industry, PMIs showed.

The surge came at the cost of mounting inflationary pressures.

But "(as) higher prices still seem to reflect temporary shortages, there is good reason to expect headline inflation to drop back sharply in 2022 as base effects are reversed and shortages ease," said Jessica Hinds, a Europe economist at Capital Economics.

Banks, material stocks and travel shares led gains on the day. Trading volumes, however, were subdued with US markets closed for an extended 4th of July weekend.


Start and end each day with the latest news stories and analyses delivered straight to your inbox.


In London, the blue-chips index hit over two-week highs, with eyes on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was due on Monday to set out plans to end social and economic Covid-19 restrictions in England.

British mid-caps, meanwhile, posted their best day in two months, up 1.2 per cent.

Morrisons jumped to a near eight-year high after US private equity company Apollo Global Management became the third suitor for the British supermarket group, saying it was considering a possible offer. Morrisons on Saturday agreed to a £6.3 billion (S$11.74 billion) takeover with another group.

"Perhaps interested parties only made their move once they could see that UK assets were becoming more attractive to overseas investors," said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

The broader Stoxx 600 benchmark has struggled to reclaim an all-time high hit in mid-June as the jump in virus cases raised the spectre of new travel restrictions, while a recent spike in inflation has sparked fears of a quick tapering in monetary stimulus despite assurances to the contrary from the ECB.

After the central bank kept its policy unchanged last month, ECB President Christine Lagarde said on Friday the euro zone economy was beginning to rebound from the pandemic-induced slump, but the recovery remained fragile.

France's Health Minister Olivier Veran warned the country could be heading for a fourth wave of the pandemic due to the Delta variant. French shares lost half a per cent before ending the day up 0.2 per cent.


BT is now on Telegram!

For daily updates on weekdays and specially selected content for the weekend. Subscribe to

Capital Markets & Currencies


Get the latest coverage and full access to all BT premium content.


Browse corporate subscription here