European stock markets climbed upon returning from an extended holiday break on Friday, with the main index poised to set a fresh closing high on the heels of a strong session for Wall Street.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index
rose 0.2% to 419.74, a gain that if it continues, will mark a new closing high. 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 to gain 24% — the biggest rise in a decade.
Reports of blockbuster holiday sales from Amazon.com Inc.
helped drive all three main U.S. indexes to record closes on Thursday, with the Nasdaq Composite
closing above 9,000 for the first time. Separately, data from China revealed industrial profits improved in November.
Energy companies, banks and mining groups sectors stood out. Shares of BP PLC
rose 1.3% 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
and BHP Group PLC
rose 1.4% and 2%, respectively. Among banks, heavily-weighted HSBC Holdings PLC
On the downside, shares of Qiagen NV
slid nearly 20%, 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.