Travel shares lead the rise of European stocks and airlines rise strongly

By Anisha Sircar and Amber Warrick

Jan 20 (Reuters) – European stocks closed higher on Thursday, with the travel sector leading gains after Ryanair expressed confidence in a recovery this year, while bond yields retreated from recent highs. taking some pressure off equities.

* The pan-European STOXX 600 index closed 0.5% higher, overcoming early losses and extending the rally to a second straight session.

* The travel sector was the best performer, rising 2.9%, as airline shares soared on Ryanair’s optimistic view of travel trends in 2022. Its shares jumped 4 ,two%.

* European stocks generally benefited as German bond yields fell below 0% again, following a string of strong gains this week.

* Utilities and technology stocks advanced 1.7% and 1.5%, respectively. These two sectors tend to underperform in high interest rate environments, and have fallen sharply this year.

* The STOXX 600 has had a difficult time finding its bearings this week as investors are concerned about rising inflation and a possible tightening of monetary policy this year.

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* However, updates to corporate earnings and commodity-related earnings have helped improve sentiment.

* Data released on Thursday showed German producer prices rose at a record pace in December, boosted by rising energy prices.

* Energy stocks fell from two-year highs as oil prices fell after a month of gains, but then recovered and rose again.

(Edited in Spanish by Carlos Serrano)