By Barbara Kollmeyer
European stocks kicked off the last trading week of 2021 with gains on Monday, as traders got one last chance to push the main index toward a record closing high before year-end. Pharmaceutical stocks were among the biggest gainers.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP +0.34% rose nearly 0.5% to 484.82, with the German DAX /zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed DX:DAX -0.21% up 0.3% and the French CAC 40 /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 +0.94% rising 0.5%. London stocks will be closed Monday and Tuesday for holidays, while Europe will also see a shortened week in some other parts of the world.
The Stoxx 600 is still more than 1% shy of its record close of 489.95, hit Nov. 17, 2021, but may close in on that amid lighter volumes this week. A higher start from bourses in the U.S., with the S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -1.04% on track for another closing high , also was helping sentiment.
Among currencies, the euro /zigman2/quotes/210561242/realtime/sampled EURUSD +0.2778% rose 0.1% to $1.1324, while the pound /zigman2/quotes/210561263/realtime/sampled GBPUSD -0.0498% gained 0.3%. The Turkish lira /zigman2/quotes/210561895/realtime/sampled USDTRY -0.0197% slid 5% against the dollar to $11.41, after surging last week due to state intervention and some optimism over a plan by President Tayyip Erdogan to curb lira-related losses for savers in the country.
“The authorities in Turkey may find engineering further Lira rallies harder going from here, and I will be watching their foreign reserve data going forward for more signals of when to re-enter the short Erdogan trade,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA, in a note to clients.
Pharmaceutical and technology names were leading the way higher for Monday. Shares of Roche CH:ROG climbed more than 1% after the Swiss pharma group’s at-home COVID-19 tests, which can produce results in as little as 20 minutes, were approved for U.S. emergency-use.
Europe’s COVID-19 cases continue to climb, with France reporting a record 100,000 new daily cases on Sunday, where officials have laid out New Year’s Eve restrictions. The spike being seen across Europe has other governments considering stricter measures. The U.S. is also seeing a spike in cases in certain parts of the country.
Shares of Deutsche Lufthansa /zigman2/quotes/201210530/delayed XE:LHA +0.09% fell over 1.5%, in step with U.S. airlines that tumbled as thousands of global flights were scrapped over the holiday weekend, largely due to COVID-19 cases among staff that left airlines unable to fulfill schedules. There were some concerns that New Year’s travel would be no better.
Among technology stocks, heavily weighted ASML Holding shares /zigman2/quotes/210293876/composite ASML -2.43% rose over 1% and SAP /zigman2/quotes/207905606/composite SAP -1.90% /zigman2/quotes/202053813/delayed XE:SAP -0.27% climbed 0.5%. Infineon Technologies /zigman2/quotes/203152288/delayed XE:IFX +1.62% gained over 2%.