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Reopening optimism pushes European stocks closer to record high

(For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock markets, click LIVE/ or type LIVE/ in a news window)

May 18 (Reuters) - European stocks neared record high on Tuesday on optimism around several countries easing economic restrictions, falling unemployment rate in the United Kingdom and strong earnings reports from companies.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.7% by 0716 GMT, trading just shy of its record high hit last week, with economy-linked cyclical sectors like miners and automakers leading the gains.

The German DAX rose 0.8% to hit a record high, while Italy’s FTSE MIB added 0.8% to fresh pre-pandemic highs.

Milan-listed shares of Stellantis gained 1.3% ahead of the announcement of ties with Foxconn.

The world’s biggest maker of hearing aids Sonova Holding surged 8.5% after predicting strong growth this year due to a market recovery and new products.

Meanwhile, Vodafone fell 7.2% after the UK mobile operator reported a 1.2% drop in full-year adjusted earnings as COVID-19 hit roaming revenue and handset sales. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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