European shares hover below highs, Bayer hit by Roundup ruling

(Reuters) -European shares inched higher on Thursday as investors awaited key U.S. labour data, while German shares fell after shares in pharmaceuticals maker Bayer were hit by a court ruling.

FILE PHOTO: The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, May 21, 2021. REUTERS/Staff

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.1% to 445.76 points, just below Tuesday’s record high of 447.15.

French planemaker Airbus was among the best performers, rising 6% after it set out sweeping goals to expand production of jetliners, as the airline industry recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

German shares shed around 0.4%, lagging other regional markets, with Bayer the biggest drag on the DAX, falling more than 4%.

The stock was set for its worst day in three months after a U.S. judge rejected its class action plan to settle future claims related to its Roundup and other glyphosate-based weedkillers.

European shares have moved little this week, but achieved record highs as continued affirmations of easy monetary policy and waning concerns over inflation painted a favourable picture.

Investors are awaiting U.S. jobless claims data, which is due later in the day and personal consumption data on Friday, two important metrics considered by the Federal Reserve in adjusting policy.

“Market participants stayed relatively indecisive ahead of tomorrow’s release of the core PCE index, which is the Fed’s favourite inflation metric,” Charalambos Pissouros, senior market analyst at JFD Group wrote in a note.

Mining stocks added 2%. The sector was the best performing European sector as metal prices rose on concerns over supply disruptions in top copper producer Chile. [MET/L]

Food and beverage stocks were the worst performers, falling 0.6% on losses in British processed foods maker Tate & Lyle. The stock shed more than 5% after its annual revenue fell.

Among other movers, HSBC fell 0.2% after the British bank said it was exiting its U.S. retail business to focus on Asia, its biggest market.

Puma fell 2% after French luxury goods group Kering said it will sell a 5.9% stake in the German sportswear firm through a share placement.

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