Europe open: Shares up on US stimulus hopes as Biden takes charge
European stocks started Thursday with a spring in their step after the inauguration of new US President Joe Biden with investors now looking for an increased package of stimulus measures to boost the battered economy.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.66% in early trade. Shares in Asian and Wall Street hit record highs after Biden took office on Wednesday and swiftly moved to reverse some of the isolationist policies of his predecessor included a return to the Paris climate change accord.
Biden announced 17 executive actions, including 15 executive orders, in his first hours, including reversing the Muslim travel ban, halting the construction of the US-Mexico border wall and mandated the wearing of masks and social distancing in federal buildings.
"It appears that Biden isn’t messing around. And it is exactly this purposeful and robust approach the markets were hoping for – especially if it leads to his $1.9trn Covid-19 stimulus package escaping the Senate unscathed," said Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell.
Investors were also keeping an eye on the European Central Bank's first meeting of the year and US jobless claims later in the day, with analysts guiding for a fall to 935,000 from 965,000.
In corporate news, Sage Group shares topped the gainers, up 5.5%, after the company said it traded in line with expectations in the first quarter as the business software group's recurring revenue grew strongly.
Tool maker Sandvik rose after the firm reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings.
Spanish cellphone mast operator Cellnex and German telecoms group Deutsche Telekom were both higher after the duo announced a plan to combine their tower business in the Netherlands.