European shares open at record high; fourth-quarter GDP data in sight

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FILE PHOTO: The 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, February 13, 2020. REUTERS/Staff/File Photo

February 14, 2020

(Reuters) – European shares inched up to a record high on Friday ahead of fourth-quarter GDP data from the EU, while concerns over the coronavirus outbreak eased after the World Health Organization downplayed a recent spike in cases.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index <.STOXX> rose as much as 0.1% to a record high of 431.42, eyeing a second straight week of gains following a relief rally earlier in the week.

Investors were awaiting the European Union’s fourth-quarter GDP flash estimates at 1000 GMT, which are expected to show the European economy barely expanding between October and December amid a manufacturing slump and global trade headwinds.

The virus outbreak could further hurt growth, given China’s position as one of the bloc’s largest trading partners.

Real estate <.SX86P> and utilities <.SX6P> were the best performing European sectors, rising 0.5% and 0.4%, respectively.

(Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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