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Europe's STOXX 600 Hits all-Time High on Technology Boost

  • STOXX 600 up 0.6%
  • BESI at record high after Q4 beat, strong orders
  • Nestle drops on FY organic sales miss
  • Delivery Hero down after foodpanda business sale talks falter
  • Final eurozone inflation print for January due 1000 GMT

Feb 22 (Reuters) - Europe's STOXX 600 index scaled an all-time high on Thursday, boosted by technology stocks following an upbeat revenue forecast from U.S. chipmaker Nvidia, while investors awaited minutes from the European Central Bank's latest policy meeting.

The pan-European STOXX 600 rose nearly 1% to a record 495.81 points, beating its previous high of 495.46 reached in Jan. 2022. The index eased from session highs and was last up 0.6%.

The technology sector drove gains with a 2.8% rise as investors cheered Nvidia's, results and forecast. Frankfurt-listed shares of the artificial intelligence bellwether jumped 13.7%.

BESI semiconductor surged 16.6% to hit a record high after the Dutch chipmaking equipment supplier exceeded fourth-quarter targets on demand for AI-related chipmaking parts.

The technology index has jumped 12.5% so far this year and is trading at more than 23-year highs on the back of upbeat earnings from industry leaders SAP and ASML Holding which have also received a boost from the AI frenzy.

"Communications and information technology sectors have done quite well and they've been achieving the strongest earnings beats so far," said Aneeka Gupta, director of macroeconomic research at WisdomTree.

"Growth oriented sectors are flourishing at a time when growth in the eurozone is quite anaemic and hence they are trading at a premium."

Bucking the trend, the food and beverages index dropped 0.9%, bogged down by a 3.4% loss in Nestle after the world's biggest packaged food company reported full-year organic sales growth slightly below expectations as price hikes prompted some shoppers to turn to competing brands.

Delivery Hero lost 8.6% after the food delivery firm said talks for the potential sale of its foodpanda business in selected markets in Southeast Asia have been terminated.

On the data front, euro zone business activity improved in February as the dominant services sector broke a six-month streak of contraction, offsetting a deterioration in manufacturing, a survey showed.

Investors are now looking out for January's final eurozone inflation print and the ECB's policy meeting minutes as investors scour for clues on interest rate cuts.

Mercedes-Benz rose 4.8% as the luxury automaker reported a 'solid' set of full-year results and announced a share buyback program of up to 3 billion euros ($3.26 billion).

UK's Indivior led gains on STOXX 600 with a 18.5% jump after the pharmaceuticals firm forecast annual revenue above estimates.

Shares in Accor advanced 4.0% following a bigger-than-expected jump in Europe's biggest hotel group's annual core profit, and an upbeat forecast for 2024.

Reporting by Khushi Singh, Johann M Cherian in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Varun H K

Source: Reuters

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