European shares supported by gains in retail, oil stocks

(For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock markets, click LIVE/ or type LIVE/ in a news window)

Nov 20 (Reuters) - European stocks edged higher on Friday as gains in retail and oil shares offset worries about U.S. politics and an impasse over fresh stimulus measures to support a pandemic-stricken global economy.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.2% by 0815 GMT, on track for marginal weekly gains after signs of progress on COVID-19 vaccine pushed the index to February highs earlier this week.

Global mood remained subdued after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said key pandemic lending programs at the Federal Reserve would expire on Dec. 31, putting the outgoing Trump administration at odds with the central bank.

UK’s FTSE 100 found some support as retail sales bounced in October and British health minister said there were encouraging signs that virus cases were starting to flatten.

The retail index rose 0.8% to lead sectoral gains, followed by oil and gas as well as travel and leisure stocks.

Italy’s BPER Banca rose 3.1% after the top investor in the bank threw its weight behind the idea of a merger with rival Banco BPM. (Reporting by Shashank Nayar and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)


Reuters Breakingviews is the world's leading source of agenda-setting financial insight. As the Reuters brand for financial commentary, we dissect the big business and economic stories as they break around the world every day. A global team of about 30 correspondents in New York, London, Hong Kong and other major cities provides expert analysis in real time.

Sign up for a free trial of our full service at and follow us on Twitter @Breakingviews and at All opinions expressed are those of the authors.