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Updated December 28th, 2023 at 15:22 IST

European shares flat as energy losses offset healthcare gains

The pan-European STOXX 600 held steady at 478.67 points as of 09:22 GMT, hovering near its 23-month high hit two weeks ago.

Reported by: Thomson Reuters
European stocks
European stocks | Image:Unsplash
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European shares were flat on Thursday as dipping energy stocks countered rising healthcare shares, though the markets looked set to finish the year strong amid persisting hopes that major global central banks could cut borrowing costs next year.

The pan-European STOXX 600 held steady at 478.67 points as of 09:22 GMT, hovering near its 23-month high hit two weeks ago.

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The healthcare sector led gains, rising 0.4 per cent as Novo Nordisk, Europe's most valuable company, added 0.8 per cent after declining for the previous two sessions.

Keeping a lid on gains, heavyweight energy stocks declined 0.5 per cent, tracking lower crude oil prices.

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Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown, said that with Denmark's Maersk scheduling the resumption of tankers' passages via the Suez Canal and the Red Sea, it has helped dispel some immediate crude supply concerns amid the Middle East crisis.

Shares of the shipping company were largely flat after falling nearly 5 per cent in the previous session.

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However, tensions remain elevated, with Middle Eastern leaders warning about the conflict widening, with Israel's border with Lebanon being a worrisome hotspot, following attacks by Hezbollah, she added.

The European benchmark index eyes a near 13 per cent advance this year with technology and retail among the best-performing sectors this year.

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Global markets have rallied since mid-December when the US Federal Reserve hinted that it could look at rate cuts next year. However, the European Central Bank (ECB) did not share a similar outlook.

Volumes are expected to be light with only a few trading days left in the calendar year.

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Among individual stocks, Vestas Wind Systems extended gains to a sixth straight session, rising 1.7 per cent after the Danish wind turbine-maker said it received a 1,089 MW order in the United States.

On Thursday's data front, Spanish retail sales rose 5.2 per cent in November from a year earlier after rising by a revised 5.3 per cent in October. 

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Published December 28th, 2023 at 15:22 IST

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