Pharmaceutical companies boost European stock markets to their second weekly rise

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European stock markets advanced on Friday, nearing nine-month highs, thanks to rising health stocks and unexpected growth in Britain’s economy in November, as investors awaited results from big U.S. banks.

The pan-European index STOXX 600 was up 0.2% at 08.11 GMT, while Britain’s index FTSE 100 It added 0.4% after knowing that the British economy grew by 0.1% in November.

European stock markets were heading for a second straight weekly hike, at an optimistic start to January and the new year, after data pointed to a slowdown in inflation in the euro zone and the United States, which could allow central banks to slow the pace of tightening monetary policy.

Tech stocks and rate-sensitive retailers have led gains so far this year, rising 13% and 14.4%, respectively, after a tough 2022 in which fears of an economic slowdown and rising interest rates have hurt these sectors.

On Friday, healthcare stocks provided the biggest boost to the index, with gains of more than 1.5% in Novo Nordisk A/S and Roche Holding AG in the first operations.

Enel was revalued after it was announced that, according to its CEO, the Italian power company could get up to 5 billion euros ($5.4 billion) of investment from the EU’s REPower energy funds, in addition to the 3.5 billion euros of EU recovery funds already raised.

The shares of the online gaming company Kindred Group fell 16.6% after cutting its fourth-quarter profit forecast.

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