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Europe markets hit record high as positive momentum continues

LONDON — European stocks hit a record high on Tuesday as the new year momentum continued in global markets.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index traded 0.6% higher, hitting an intraday record of 494.12 mid-morning London time. Most sectors were in positive territory, apart from healthcare and chemicals stocks.

Airline and travel stocks were among the biggest gainers on the index, with the sector up 3.4%. Leading the Stoxx 600 index, International Consolidated Airlines Group and Wizz Air were both up 10%, respectively, while German travel company TUI was up 7%. The poorest-performing stock on the index was Delivery Hero, down 3.4%.

It comes after stocks in the region kicked off 2022 with a bang on Monday, as most major regional indexes were higher on the first trading day of the new year.

There is still much uncertainty around the Covid-19 pandemic, however, with multiple countries around the world reimposing restrictions or lockdowns to stop the spread of the highly contagious omicron variant. Inflation and monetary policy will be key themes for 2022, as investors expect the U.S. Federal Reserve to hike rates in the coming year to help cool the rise in prices for consumers.

U.S. stock futures were steady in overnight trading on Monday after the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 notched new record closes on the first trading day of 2022.

Meanwhile, shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Tuesday trade, as data showed accelerating Chinese factory activity growth in December.

Investors are keeping an eye on shares of debt-laden China Evergrande Group, which briefly surged more than 6% after resuming trade following a Monday halt. They then gave up some of those gains. Evergrande announced Tuesday that it saw 443.02 billion yuan (about $67.67 billion) worth in contracted sales of properties in 2021 — a more than 30% plunge from 2020?s figure.

Data releases include preliminary French inflation figures for December, Germany’s unemployment rate in December and the latest Portuguese consumer confidence data.

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— CNBC’s Maggie Fitzgerald and Eustance Huang contributed to this market report.

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