European shares fall on inflation, pandemic woes

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The pan-European STOXX 600 was down 0.1% by 0718 GMT, with banks, energy and mining shares falling between 0.3% and 0.8%.

The European benchmark is on course to post its biggest percentage gain in the first six months of a year since 1998, but the double whammy of high inflation as well as the global spread of the highly contagious Delta variant has recently slowed gains.

If the STOXX 600 ends Wednesday’s session down 0.4% or more, it will mark its best first-half of a year since only 2019.

After a sharp rise in June economic sentiment lifted European stock indexes in the previous session, focus will be on German unemployment figures and euro zone inflation data due later in the day.

In company news, Dutch eyewear store operator Grandvision surged 14% as Ray-Ban maker EssilorLuxottica said it had decided to go ahead with a planned takeover of the company. EssilorLuxottica’s shares were up 1.3%.

Technology stocks rose 0.4% following a record high close for the U.S. Nasdaq in the previous session.