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European stocks continue recovery as banks get left behind

Santander bank logo is seen on September 2, 2020 in Warsaw, Poland.


Aleksander Kalka/Zuma Press

European stocks extended gains on Thursday, as data shows the economic recovery grinds ahead, with signs afoot of potentially more stimulus.

Up 1.7% on Wednesday and 33% from its March lows, the Stoxx Europe 600
XX:SXXP
rose 1%.

The French CAC 40
FR:PX1
rose 1.4%, as the German DAX
DX:DAX
and U.K. FTSE 100
UK:UKX
also gained ground.

The gains came after relief from the breakneck rise of the euro
EURUSD,
and the British pound
GBPUSD,
against the dollar. Comments this week from European Central Bank chief economist Philip Lane that the euro/dollar rate does matter has raised expectations ahead of its meeting next week.

But the backdrop for the advance is the rally on Wall Street, which on Wednesday sent the S&P 500
SPX
to its 22nd record high and the Nasdaq Composite
COMP
to its 43rd record. In the U.S., it wasn’t tech stocks but utilities and materials companies that paced the gains. Reports of new talks over the stalled stimulus bill have fanned expectations of a deal.

Meanwhile a host of data from the service sector, on both sides of the Atlantic, should show the economy continuing to move toward its pre-pandemic levels.

The popular Euro Stoxx 50
XX:SX5E
will be reshuffled, with banks Societe Generale
FR:GLE
and BBVA
ES:BBVA
headlining the five getting removed, and Banco Santander
ES:SAN
is getting axed from the Stoxx Europe 50. European banks, already struggling with years of negative interest rates and little growth, took a cumulative 33 billion euros of loan-loan provisions in the second quarter, according to Deutsche Bank. The Euro Stoxx bank index
XX:SX7E
has slumped 37% this year.

Of stocks on the move on Thursday, Siemens Healthineers
XE:SHL
fell 5% after saying it sold 2.73 billion euros of new shares to institutional investors, to help finance its purchase of Varian Medical Systems.

Melrose Industries
UK:MRO
jumped 8% after the loss-making U.K. company said trading over the summer was at the higher end of its expectations. Like many companies, it said it wouldn’t pay a dividend.

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