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Europe Markets: European stocks hover at record highs, with Shell leading the gains

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European stocks were inching toward a fresh record on Wednesday, with shares of Royal Dutch Shell climbing after a trading update, and banks also higher. U.S. stock futures were slightly higher.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index
SXXP,
+0.05%

rose by less than 0.1% to 435.45, following a 0.7% gain on Tuesday, which took it to a record close of 435.26.

The German DAX
DAX,
+0.04%

rose 0.1% to 15,229.57, on the heels of its own record-setting finish of 15212.68, a gain of 0.7%. The French CAC
PX1,
+0.32%

gained 0.2% and the FTSE 100 index
UKX,
+0.85%

rose 0.7%.

U.S. stock futures
ES00,
+0.09%

YM00,
+0.09%

NQ00,
+0.12%

pointed to a slightly higher open as investors waited for the minutes of the most recent Federal Open Market Committee meeting. On Tuesday, the S&P 500
SPX,
-0.10%

finished 0.1% lower after setting a record intraday high, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average
DJIA,
-0.29%

closed down 0.3% and the Nasdaq Composite
COMP,
-0.05%

finished modestly weaker.

Shares of Royal Dutch Shell
RDSA,
+0.51%

RDS.A,
+0.13%

climbed 1.4%. The energy giant warned that a fierce winter storm that hit Texas in February would hurt its first-quarter adjusted earnings by $200 million.

However, Shell said adjusted earnings for its upstream unit, which deals with exploration and the production of oil, are expected to be positive in the first quarter, “capturing the upside from the current commodity price environment.” Shares of rival BP
BP,
+2.58%

BP,
+3.46%

climbed over 2% and those of Total
FP,
+0.68%

TOT,
-0.02%

gained 1%.

Shares of Ryanair Holdings
RYA,
+0.83%

fell 2%, after the discount airline trimmed its expectations for a fiscal 2021 loss, but also lowered its forecast for fiscal 2022 traffic, in part due to the slow rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations in Europe.

Société Générale
GLE,
+1.61%

said it has entered into talks with French asset manager Amundi to sell asset-management activities operated by its Lyxor unit for €825 million ($979.6 million). The French bank’s shares rose 2%.

The banking sector as a whole was leading sector gains for the Stoxx 600, with shares of BNP Paribas
BNP,
+1.06%

and Banco Santander
SAN,
+0.29%

SAN,
+1.25%

up 1% each.

Shares of Shop Apotheke Europe
SAE,
+0.59%

rose 1%, after the Dutch-based online-pharmacy group’s sales for the first quarter grew as the number of active customers rose steeply on-year.

Shares of Carnival
CCL,
+4.05%

CUK,
+1.73%

climbed 4%, after a spokeswoman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Jade Fulce, told Bloomberg on Tuesday that cruises could resume by midsummer on a restricted basis. That was after the U.S. Carnival arm threatened to take its ships to non-U.S. ports.

Deliveroo
ROO,
+2.50%

shares rose 3%, as unrestricted trading began with investors brushing off the food delivery company’s bleak initial public offering at the end of March.

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