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European stocks remain below record highs after volatile week

·2-min read
The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt

By Sagarika Jaisinghani and Shreyashi Sanyal

(Reuters) - European shares stayed just below record highs on Friday, with a boost from the financial and materials sectors, while Credit Suisse rose after a Reuters report that it was considering a potential merger with UBS.

The scandal-hit Swiss bank was up 1.9% as the report said Credit Suisse's management was under pressure to come up with an overhaul plan. UBS shares were up 0.2%.

The pan-European STOXX 600 was 0.1%, ending the week with gains of 1% following sharp swings on concerns of higher inflation hitting real income and leading central banks to raise interest rates sooner than expected.

With the U.S. Federal Reserve sending out mixed messages this week on how hot it would let inflation run, a weaker-than-expected reading on latest U.S. personal consumption expenditures (PCE) data eased worries about a sudden tapering in stimulus.

"What has been remarkable is how indices globally have shrugged off the Fed's apparent change of outlook (which has been careful walked back to an extent this week), and have resumed the march higher, presumably following the dangling carrot of economic growth as the world returns to normal," said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG.

The STOXX 600 fell sharply from record highs last week after a surprisingly hawkish tone from Fed officials roiled global financial markets. [MKTS/GLOB]

The European Central Bank has reiterated that it was too soon to taper monetary policy in Europe, while on Thursday, the Bank of England struck a dovish tone to policy even as it acknowledged inflation would surpass its 2% target.

London's FTSE 100 was also rose on Friday. [.L]

The European banking index rose 0.6% and ended the week with gains of about 2% as investors returned to economically sensitive sectors. Other so-called value stocks including miners and energy were also among the top gainers on the week.

Construction-related stocks added 0.2% following a jump in the U.S. infrastructure sector as U.S. President Joe Biden embraced a bipartisan Senate infrastructure deal.

German stocks rose 0.1% as a report showed consumer sentiment improved more than expected heading into July.

British subprime lender Amigo Holdings surged 7.6% after saying it had secured a three-month extension to a funding line as it scrambles to secure its future after a court rejected a rescue plan for the firm last month.

(Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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