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European Shares Start December on a High

  • Miners eye best day in nearly three weeks
  • European stocks to hit record highs in 2022 - Reuters poll
  • Husqvarna gains 5% after hiking targets

Dec 1 (Reuters) - European stocks rose on Wednesday as bargain hunters returned after a rough November, lifting sectors such as travel, oil and mining that were battered by fears about the Omicron coronavirus variant upending economic activity.

The pan-European STOXX 600 rose 0.8% in morning trade, tracking gains in Asian shares and U.S. futures after a sharp sell-off in the previous session.

"European equities have been impacted more than global equities on Omicron as you have more value and cyclical stocks there than in the rest of the world," said Ankit Gheedia, BNP Paribas' head of equity and derivative strategy for Europe.

"Looking forward, the key data point is efficacy of current vaccines, which we likely won't know until the end of next week. Until then, I'd expect to see choppy markets based on news flow."

The STOXX 600 has swung between sharp gains and losses this week as uncertainty around Omicron sparked volatile trading. The index ended November with 2.6% loss after U.S. Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell signalled on Tuesday the central bank may speed up the pace of its bond-buying taper a few months earlier than expected. 

A survey showed manufacturing growth in the euro zone accelerated slightly last month, but supply chain bottlenecks worsened.

Still, a recovery in corporate profits is expected to boost European stocks to fresh record highs in 2022, according to a Reuters poll. 

The poll of 23 fund managers, strategists and brokers predicted Germany's DAX and France's CAC 40 indexes would hit uncharted peaks by mid-2022, while the STOXX 600 would gain 7% and reach 500 points by July. 

The European Union could greenlight COVID-19 vaccines tailored to target the new variant in three to four months, the region's drug regulator chief Emer Cooke said on Tuesday, adding that existing shots would continue to provide protection.

Miners gained 2.9% after copper prices rebounded on easing concerns about the Omicron coronavirus variant, while oil stocks jumped 2.4% as crude prices rose ahead of an OPEC meeting.

Among companies, Husqvarna, the world's biggest maker of power gardening tools, climbed 2.7% after raising its overall financial targets and growth ambitions for robotic lawn mowers and other battery-powered products. 

Italy's Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena jumped 11.4% after saying it had begun a dialogue with the Ministry of Economy and Finance to restart discussions on its plans to raise capital.

Battered German property group Adler's shares surged 21.6% after announcing divestitures.

Reporting by Anisha Sircar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Shounak Dasgupta

Source: Reuters

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