By Sruthi Shankar
(Reuters) – European shares climbed on Thursday as encouraging economic data from across the globe and hopes of a COVID-19 vaccine lifted sentiment ahead of the crucial U.S. jobs data.
The pan-European STOXX 600 <.STOXX> rose 1.2% to mark its fourth consecutive day of gains. Banks <.SX7P>, automakers <.SXAP> and travel & leisure <.SXTP> firms were the top gainers, jumping between 2.7% and 3.4%.
Financial markets entered the second half of the year on a cheerful note earlier this week, as business surveys showed a coronavirus-induced slump in global manufacturing eased in June.
Adding to optimism, a COVID-19 vaccine developed by German biotech firm BioNTech <BNTX.O> and U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer <PFE.N> was found to be well-tolerated in early stage human trials.
All eyes are on the U.S. payrolls data, due at 1230 pm GMT. Economists have estimated that job numbers rose by 3 million in June, rebounding further after a historic 20.69 million plunge in April.
However, a spike in U.S. infections fuelled uncertainty.
New U.S. cases of COVID-19 jumped nearly 50,000 on Wednesday, according to a Reuters tally, marking the biggest one-day rise since the start of the pandemic.
“Given the ongoing threat from stubbornly rising infection numbers in key U.S. states, there seems to be little potential for the labour market report to produce a distinct upward push to the general market sentiment, as it did four weeks ago,” UniCredit analysts wrote in a note.
The end of the lockdown failed to bring a surge in employment in Spain as data showed that the 900,000 jobs lost at the peak of the pandemic had not been regained.
Among individual movers, Associated British Foods <ABF.L> jumped 7.3% after saying trading in its Primark fashion stores that reopened after the lockdown has been “reassuring and encouraging”.
German fashion house Hugo Boss <BOSSn.DE> rose 2.6% after it appointed Tommy Hilfiger executive Oliver Timm as its chief sales officer.
Scandal-hit Wirecard <WDIG.DE> slumped 27.1% after police and public prosecutors raided its headquarters in Munich and four properties in Germany and Austria.
Cardboard maker DS Smith <SMDS.L> fell 7.3% after saying it was too early to resume dividends in the short-term due to market uncertainty caused by the pandemic.
Dutch construction company BAM Groep <BAMN.AS> dropped 11.6% as it warned of a “significant” loss in the first half of the year.
(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr and Sriraj Kalluvila)