European shares edge higher; weak China data stokes worries

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German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt

(Reuters) – European shares inched higher on Monday, boosted by fresh gains for healthcare stocks, while signs of a slowing Chinese economy sparked a flight to sectors such as telecoms and consumer staples typically seen as immune to the economic cycles.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.3% by 0720 GMT after hitting two-month highs at the open.

Lifting healthcare stocks, AstraZeneca gained 2.6% after the drugmaker said its cancer drug, Enhertu, developed with Japan’s Daiichi Sankyo delayed the progression of a form of advanced breast cancer in previously treated patients.

HelloFresh jumped 8.1% after the German meal-kit maker reported better-than-expected quarterly results.

Henkel slipped 1.3% as the German consumer goods group said the surging cost of materials hit earnings in the first half of the year.

China-exposed automakers and miners slipped after the country’s central bank cut key lending rates in a surprise move to revive demand as data showed the economy unexpectedly slowing in July.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)