By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch
AFP via Getty Images
European stock markets climbed upon returning from an extended holiday break on Friday, with the main index poised to set a fresh high on the heels of a strong session for Wall Street.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP +0.73% rose 0.4% to 420.55, which will mark new closing high if the gains last through the day. That would take out the record high of 418.86 reached on Tuesday, when the index gained 0.1%. With just a handful of trading sessions to go, the Stoxx 600 is poised for a 24% gain in 2019 — the biggest rise in a decade.
The German DAX 30 index /zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed DX:DAX +0.72% rose 0.5% to 13,374.76, the French CAC 40 index /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 +0.20% rose 0.5% to 6,057.08, and the FTSE 100 index /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +1.19% gained 0.3% to 7,657.58.
Reports of blockbuster holiday sales from Amazon.com Inc. /zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite AMZN +0.25% helped drive all three main U.S. indexes to record closes on Thursday, with the Nasdaq Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP -0.30% closing above 9,000 for the first time.
Separately, data from China revealed industrial profits improved in November and U.S. stock futures pointed to potentially more records for Friday.
Drug, mining and energy companies stood out. Shares of BP PLC /zigman2/quotes/207305210/composite BP +0.81% /zigman2/quotes/202286639/delayed UK:BP +1.09% rose 0.9% after oil prices closed at a three-month high on Thursday as a report showed falling U.S. crude inventories. The Energy Information Administration will release its report on U.S. crude stocks Friday.
Miners Rio Tinto PLC /zigman2/quotes/208934945/delayed UK:RIO +1.91% /zigman2/quotes/202627887/composite RIO +2.37% and BHP Group PLC /zigman2/quotes/206213719/delayed UK:BHP +2.89% /zigman2/quotes/208108397/composite BHP +2.20% rose 1.1% and 2%, respectively.
On the downside, shares of Qiagen NV /zigman2/quotes/208965936/delayed DE:QIA +2.64% slid 18%, after the Dutch biotechnology group earlier in the week rejected potential suitors and said it would focus on its stand-alone business strategy.
Volumes are expected to be thin on Friday, as many European traders may stretch the Christmas break into the weekend, and may not return until after the New Year holiday.