European shares opened higher at the start of the week with oil stocks up on reports of an attack on Saudi oil facilities on Sunday.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index gained 0.63% in early trading, following a strong Wall Street session on Friday, All major regional bourses were up, although inflationary fears hit US futures, with a lower opening indicated.
Richard Hunter, head of markets at interactive investor said “improving news for the much anticipated global economic recovery is being tempered by accelerating inflation concerns”.
He cited better-than-expected non-farm payrolls figures, which saw 379000 jobs being added in February, and the US Senate’s approval of the $1.9trn fiscal stimulus package, as signs of strong growth momentum to come later this year.
“This in turn leads to the spectre of inflation and rising interest rates, although timing remains uncertain,” Hunter added.
Brent crude futures moved above $70 a barrel after Saudi officials said a drone attack from the sea on a petroleum storage tank at the Ras Tanura shipping port on Sunday morning.
Saudi Arabia’s ministry of energy said the attacks had not resulted in any injury or loss of life or property. Share in oil majors rose, with BP, BHP, Total and Shell all higher
In other equity news, UK education publisher Pearson fell 3.6% after reporting a drop in 2020 revenue and adjusted operating profit and announced a restructure of its business to focus on a direct-to-consumer model.