European stocks hold firm near record highs

FILE PHOTO: The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany August 24, 2021. REUTERS/Staff

(Reuters) – European stocks inched higher on Monday, holding below record highs scaled earlier this month, as hopes that continued central bank support would sustain an economic recovery offset woes around the Delta variant of the coronavirus.

UK markets were closed for a bank holiday, while Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 were flat in early deals.

The Europe-wide STOXX 600 rose 0.1%. The index was on course to end August with a more than 2% rise – its seventh straight month of gains in what would be its longest such winning run in over eight years.

Risky assets including equities remained supported after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Friday laid out a slower-than-expected path to rate hikes.

Oil and gas stocks inched up 0.2% even as crude prices retreated from three-week highs after a powerful hurricane slammed into the U.S. Gulf coast, forcing shutdowns and evacuations of hundreds of offshore oil platforms. [O/R]

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