Banks, retail stocks power European shares in thin trading

European shares extended gains to a third straight session on Wednesday, led by banks and retail shares, although rising coronavirus cases fuelled concerns about the economic outlook for next year.
The pan-European STOXX 600 added 0.2 per cent as of 0815 GMT, with retail, banks and travel stocks rising between 0.3 per cent and 1.3 per cent. The benchmark hit a five-week high in its previous session.
France’s CAC 40 had also reached a new record, although the index was flat in early trade on Wednesday after the country’s new coronavirus cases in a 24-hour period hit a record high of 179,807 on Tuesday, one of the highest one-day tallies worldwide since the start of the pandemic.
Britain’s FTSE 100, meanwhile, jumped 1 per cent on higher oil prices and slim prospects of lockdowns till the year-end.
Spain’s IBEX was also flat a day after its parliament approved a 2022 budget and a major spending plan that could be one of the largest in the country’s history.
BPER Banca added 1.7 per cent after agreeing to hire 550 new staff and make 300 temporary contracts permanent on top of 1,700 exits that Italy’s fifth-largest bank already announced in September.

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