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STOXX 600 closes at record high on earnings, rate cut optimism

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Rio Tinto considered bid for BHP-target Anglo American -report

Green energy production in Italy boosts Enel's Q1 results

Medical gear maker Getinge plummets after FDA's safety warning

Italy industry output posts unexpected fall in March

Updated at 1552 GMT

By Ankika Biswas and Johann M Cherian

May 10 (Reuters) -Europe's main stock index closed at a record high on Friday, on track for its biggest weekly gain since late January, as risk appetite was bolstered by growing bets on interest rate cuts in the region and a strong earnings season.

The pan-European STOXX 600 .STOXX ended 0.7% higher, with indexes in major economies Germany .GDAXI and France .FCHI finishing at record highs.

European shares have resumed their record-breaking rally, with the STOXX 600 notching a 3% weekly gain, after investors took a breather in April.

The euphoria around artificial intelligence and monetary policy easing, among others, had sparked bumper gains in the region's stocks since late 2023.

Highlighting Europe's divergence from the U.S. Federal Reserve and boosting equities, the Bank of England hinted at summer rate cuts and Sweden's Riksbank delivered its first cut since 2016 earlier this week.

Minutes from the ECB's April policy meeting showed that policymakers favoured kicking off the monetary policy easing cycle in June, while remaining confident that inflation is on track to fall back to 2% next year.

"Looking beyond June, the path for the bank is anything but clear. The risk of reflation has clearly increased," said Carsten Brzeski, global head of macro at ING Research.

"Any signs of reflation and also stronger economic activity would limit the ECB's room for manoeuvre."

Leading sectoral gains, utilities .SX6P advanced 1.4%, with Italy's Enel ENEI.MI climbing 3.8% following a higher first-quarter core profit. Portugal's largest utility firm EDP EDP.LS climbed 3.9% after a bigger-than-expected jump in first-quarter net profit.

Retailers .SXRP added 1.5%, with Zalando ZALG.DE rising 3.3% after Berenberg upgraded the German online retailer to "buy" from "hold".

Among M&A developments, shares of BBVA BBVA.MC and Sabadell SABE.MC were up 1.3% and 0.5%, respectively, as investors assessed the developments around the first hostile banking takeover bid in Spain since the 1980s.

Anglo American AAL.L advanced 1.4% after a report said mining giant Rio Tinto RIO.AX had considered an offer for the British miner.

Sanofi SASY.PA rose 1.3% after Novavax struck a licensing deal of up to $1.2 billion with French drugmaker for its COVID-19 vaccine in exchange for a stake that valued the U.S. biotech firm at double its current market capitalisation.

On the flip side, Getinge GETIb.ST slumped 8.8% to the bottom of the STOXX after the U.S. FDA issued a warning on the safety of two of the Swedish medical equipment maker's heart devices.

Symrise SY1G.DE shed 1.4% after Berenberg downgraded the German flavour and fragrance maker to "hold" from "buy".

On the data front, Italian industrial output was much weaker than expected in March, extending the pain for the country's struggling manufacturing sector.

Reporting by Ankika Biswas and Johann M Cherian in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich, Eileen Soreng and Jane Merriman


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