European shares notch fourth straight record high on earnings strength
* Novo Nordisk among top boosts
* Zalando, Adidas knock down retail sector
* Mining stocks down on Chinese demand fears
* BoE outlines plans for reducing stimulus
By Sruthi Shankar and Ambar Warrick
Aug 5 (Reuters) - European stocks ended at record highs on Thursday, as strong results from Novo Nordisk and Siemens helped outweigh weak mining stocks and losses in major German retailers whose earnings were hurt by COVID-related disruptions.
The pan-European STOXX 600 .STOXX ended 0.4% higher at a record high of 469.96 points, its fourth consecutive peak this week.
Danish company Novo Nordisk NOVOb.CO surged 5.2% after it raised its full-year outlook and posted above-forecast quarterly earnings, while German industrial firm Siemens SIEGn.DE climbed 2.6% as it lifted its profit forecast.
Mining stocks .SXPP were the worst performers for the day, sinking 2.6% as iron ore and base metal prices dropped on fears of slowing Chinese demand.
The retail sector .SXRP fell 0.5%, with Adidas ADSGn.DE down 6.0% after Chinese sales were hit by a boycott of western brands, and rising COVID cases spurred the closure of factories in major supplier Vietnam.
Online fashion company Zalando ZALG.DE fell 4.8% after it said it had spent more on marketing to keep its customers shopping.
Still, Adidas, along with German industry bellwethers Siemens, Nivea-maker Beiersdorf BEIG.DE , as well as pharma firms Bayer BAYGn.DE and Merck MRCG.DE upgraded their forecasts for the current year, citing increasing consumer spending and economic activity.
European stocks have surged 1.8% so far this week as a strong batch of earnings helped dispel concerns over rising cases of the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus.
A steady vaccination program is expected to bring about relative normalcy later this year and drive a rebound in economic growth.
"Equity markets seem to be a little bit vulnerable right now. There is the Delta variant, fears of tightening as well as peaking earnings growth. We cannot rule out a correction," said Frederique Carrier, head of investment strategy, RBC Wealth Management.
"But so long as there is no recession in sight, markets stand to recover. We continue to be constructive on equities."
Stronger-than-expected quarterly reports have led analysts to lift their projection to a near 140% jump in second-quarter profit for companies listed on the STOXX 600, as per Refinitiv IBES data.
UK's blue-chip FTSE 100 .FTSE slipped 0.1%, while midcap stocks .FTMC rose 0.7% after the Bank of England outlined plans to wean the British economy off COVID-related stimulus measures.
French diagnostics firm Eurofins Scientific EUFI.PA jumped 10.3% to the top of the STOXX 600, after it announced a record first-half performance and upgraded its annual outlook.
Technology stocks .SX8P continued their rally, ending 0.9% higher at a more than 20-year high.
STOXX 600's 4-day record streak Link
Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru;
Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila, Uttaresh.V and Sonya Hepinstall
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