European shares end higher on commodity recovery after bruising week

German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt
FILE PHOTO: The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany August 19, 2021. REUTERS/Staff

August 23, 2021

By Sruthi Shankar and Ambar Warrick

(Reuters) -European stocks recovered from their biggest weekly loss in nearly six months on Monday, helped by mining and oil stocks as commodity prices bounced back from steep losses driven by uncertainty over U.S. monetary policy and rising COVID-19 cases.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index closed 0.7% higher after losing nearly 1.5% last week. Oil and mining were the best performing sectors, rising about 2.1% and 1.5% respectively.

Sentiment appeared to have improved after growing uncertainty over when the U.S. Federal Reserve would begin tightening policy, which sparked a broad selloff across global markets last week.

Focus now turns to the Fed’s annual Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium beginning later in the week.

“With the Jackson Hole meeting beginning on Thursday, investors may be reluctant to make big new commitments in the next couple of sessions,” Ian Williams, economics & strategy research analyst at Peel Hunt, said.

Data in Europe suggested that business activity remained strong in August, albeit at a slightly slower growth pace than the two-decade peak seen in July.

With a nearly 18% rise so far this year, the STOXX 600 hit a record high earlier this month, but has stumbled recently on concerns over the Delta variant of COVID-19 stalling economic growth.

Among individual stocks, Britain’s second-largest grocer Sainsbury’s jumped 15.4% and was the best performer on the STOXX 600, following a report that private equity firms were circling the company with a view of possibly launching bids of more than 7 billion pounds ($9.5 billion). [.L]

Last week, smaller rival Morrisons backed a 7 billion pounds offer from U.S. private equity group Clayton, Dubilier & Rice.

Germany’s BioNTech surged 7.6% after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted full approval to the Pfizer Inc/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

Luxury stocks including LVMH, Kering and Moncler clawed back some of last week’s losses after being sold off on China’s wealth redistribution plans.

Switzerland-based Cembra Money Bank plunged 30.9% to the bottom of the STOXX 600 after it terminated its credit card partnership with Swiss retailer Migros.

French lottery operator La Francaise des Jeux fell 1.7% after Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock to “sell”.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and David Holmes)