European stock markets edged higher to record levels Thursday, boosted by additional stimulus in the form of the new U.S. infrastructure plan which overshadowed Covid worries.
At 3:40 AM ET (0840 GMT), the DAX in Germany traded 0.6% higher at an all-time high, the CAC 40 in France rose 0.2%, the U.K.’s FTES 100 gained 0.5%, while the blue chip Euro stoxx 50 gained 0.4%, also at an all-time high.
Offering support was the news that President Joe Biden is set to inject another $2 trillion into the U.S. economy, the world’s driver, with on roads, railways, broadband, clean energy and semiconductor manufacture, funded in part by a sharp rise in corporate taxes.
The plan is likely to face opposition from Republicans in Congress, but it comes fresh on the heels of a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package.
The news in Europe is less encouraging, with President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday ordering France into its third national lockdown as he sought to push back a third wave of Covid-19 infections.
New infection numbers hit their highest since November this week in Europe’s second-largest economy, while the number of those in intensive care is now approaching the peak of the first wave last year..
Pressure is also rising in Germany for the reintroduction of tougher lockdown measures, while Sweden’s government will postpone a planned easing of some restrictions until the start of May.
German retail disappointed in February, falling 9.0% on the year and only climbing 1.2% on the month. The final manufacturing PMI data for the European Union are due later in the session.
In corporate news, ASML stock rose 1.6%, to a record high, with the semiconductor sector in demand during the Covid-19 pandemic as consumers buy more electronics for their homes. Vinci stock rose 3.0% after the French infrastructure company said it will buy the energy business of Spain’s ACS for 4.9 billion euros ($1.75 billion), a move that beefs up its exposure to renewable energy significantly.
The pan-European Stoxx 50 climbed up by 0.53% to 3,939.05. In the cash markets, the DAX futures Germany was trading up 0.61% to 15,099.45. CAC 40 futures in France rose by 0.42% to 6092.04 while the FTSE 100 futures in the U.K. rose by 0.64% to 6,756.12 ,at the time of writing.
EURO STOXX 50-