Por Sruthi Shankar

Apr 1 (Reuters) – European stocks finished very close to an all-time high on Thursday, as strong euro zone factory activity data and optimism around a new US government spending plan overshadowed concerns. about another confinement in France.

* The pan-European STOXX 600 Index rose 0.7% to 432.22 points, roughly one point from its all-time high. His American peers have already left behind all their losses caused by the coronavirus since last year.

* The German DAX rose 0.7% to hit an all-time high, while Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 0.4% after data showed growth in euro zone manufacturing activity galloped at its slowest pace. fast in the nearly 24-year history of the survey in March.

* “A fairly strongly synchronized global recovery is expected as we move forward in unlocking Europe in the coming months,” said Jonathan Stubbs, equity strategist at Berenberg.

* “The earnings recovery story seems to be fairly well supported. My forecasts suggest earnings growth of 25% to 30% across Europe this year and next year as a whole. It’s a pretty strong recovery.” added.

* The STOXX 600 Index ended the first quarter Wednesday with a 7.7% increase, its fourth consecutive quarter of earnings. But the benchmark index took seven months longer than the US S&P 500 to regain its pre-pandemic level, held back by a slow rollout of vaccines and a new wave of infections.

* President Emmanuel Macron ordered the third national lockdown in France, but the French benchmark index rose 0.6% after a slow start.

* To further boost global confidence, US President Joe Biden on Wednesday unveiled a comprehensive $ 2.3 trillion spending plan that includes investments in roads, rail, broadband, clean energy and semiconductor manufacturing. .

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru. Edited in Spanish by Rodrigo Charme)

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