European stocks open higher after Asia bounce

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July 3 (Reuters) – European shares opened higher on Friday after upbeat China data fuelled a bounce in Asian markets, but another record surge in U.S. coronavirus cases checked overall investor optimism.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.2% to hover near its strongest level in three weeks, but trading volumes were thinned by a U.S. holiday.

Technology stocks led the gains, rising 0.8%, while insurers and banks were the biggest decliners.

The benchmark index was headed for a modest weekly gain after a batch of strong data pointed to a recovery from the coronavirus crisis, but the United States set a new daily global record for COVID-19 cases on Thursday, driving many U.S. states to delay reopening plans.

Germany’s Delivery Hero jumped 4.1% after the takeaway food company said its order growth nearly doubled in the second quarter.

UK retailer Next fell 3.0% after Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock to “sell”, while AB Foods slipped 1.3% after the U.S. bank downgraded its stock to “neutral”. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath)

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