UPDATE 2-European stocks notch new highs as Daimler earnings lift carmakers


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    * STOXX 600 eyes seventh week of gains
    * German DAX at all-time high 
    * Daimler gains as China drives profit recovery
    * L'Oreal slips, consumer products division disappoints

 (Updates to close)
    By Sruthi Shankar and Susan Mathew
    April 16 (Reuters) - European stocks ended at a record high
on Friday, marking its seventh straight week of gains, after
strong U.S. and China economic data spurred optimism about a
speedy global recovery, while upbeat results from Germany's
Daimler boosted carmakers.
    The pan-European STOXX 600 index  .STOXX  rose 0.8%. Leading
regional peers, Germany's DAX  .GDAXI  gained 1.3% to hit an
all-time high, while UK's FTSE 100  .FTSE  was up 0.5%, closing
at over one-year highs.  
    Global stock markets scaled record highs after data showed
China's economic recovery quickened sharply in the first quarter
and U.S. retail sales rose by the most in 10 months in March.
 urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2M905E  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2M71WD
    "The good news continues to flow of both the corporate and
economic fronts, after a very good start to the reporting season
by the banks over the past few days. Now the focus becomes
broader, taking in a wider range of sectors," said Chris
Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG.
    German car and truck maker Daimler  DAIGn.DE  rose 2.7% as
higher vehicle prices and strong demand in China helped it post
a better-than-expected surge in quarterly operating profit.
    The wider automobiles & parts index  .SXAP  gained 2.1% to
lead gains among European sectors. Data showed new car
registrations jumped 87.3% in March in the European Union.
    While the STOXX 600 marked its longest weekly winning streak
in nearly three years, up 1%, moves this week have been
tight-ranged, with most European bourses holding near
pre-pandemic levels.
    Analysts expect profit for STOXX 600 companies to jump more
than 55% in the first quarter after a slide of nearly 40% in the
same quarter last year, according to Refinitiv IBES data.
    Meanwhile, a Reuters poll of economists showed the euro zone
economy will recover at a much weaker rate this quarter than
expected only a month earlier, with a slower vaccine rollout
among the biggest risks. Fitch on Friday said it could take at
least a decade for Italy's debt-to-GDP ratio to return to its
pre-COVID-19 level.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N2M9295  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2M745Q
    Bank of Ireland  BIRG.I  jumped 8.4% to the top of the STOXX
600 after it reached a deal with Belgian financial group KBC
 KBC.BR  to explore the sale of most of KBC's Irish unit.
    Lancome maker L'Oreal  OREP.PA  slipped 1.8% on
disappointment at figures from the company's consumer products
division despite overall strong group results.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nFWN2M90P5
    Next week, eyes will be on the European Central Bank meeting
on Thursday.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N2M844H
    "The ECB will look through any temporary increases in
headline inflation and will not accept any increases in bond
yields unless they are the result of improved growth prospects,"
ING said in a note. 

 (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak
Dasgupta and Jonathan Oatis)
 ((sruthi.shankar@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 646 223
8780; outside U.S. +91 80 6182 2787))

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