European shares rise as retailers, defensive stocks gain
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Sept 20 (Reuters) – European shares opened higher on Friday, set for their fifth straight week of gains, with the retail sector outperforming and investors rotating into defensive stocks.
The European retail sector jumped 0.8%, the most among the main sub-sectors, powered by a 2.7% gain in Casino after the debt-laden French retailer said it was in talks to sell its discount store chain Leader Price to German rival Aldi.
The healthcare, utilities, real-estate and food and beverage sectors – commonly considered defensive – posted some of the biggest gains.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.1%, with London’s FTSE 100 underperforming.
The FTSE lagged its regional peers as British exporters were hurt by a rally in the pound after European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker raised hopes of Britain exiting the European Union with a deal.
Also helping sentiment was China’s move to cut its new one-year benchmark lending rate for the second straight month, as it sought to guide interest rates lower for an economy hit by the U.S.-China trade war. (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)