Oil gains lift European shares, STOXX index holds just off record high

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June 16 (Reuters) - European shares rose on Wednesday, as energy stocks tracked a jump in oil prices, while investors turned to a Federal Reserve meeting for cues on whether the central bank was beginning to debate tapering its ultra easy monetary policy.

The pan-European STOXX 600 was up 0.3% by 0704 GMT. If gains hold until the end of the day, the index will mark its longest gaining streak in three-and-a-half years.

The benchmark index has scaled record highs this year as investors bet a steady vaccination programme would jumpstart economic growth, but a recent jump in inflation has sparked concerns of a sooner-than-expected tightening in global monetary policy.

Data on Wednesday showed British inflation unexpectedly jumped above the Bank of England’s 2.0% target in May and looked set to rise further as the country re-opens its economy from coronavirus-induced lockdowns.

Still, London’s commodity-heavy FTSE 100 rose 0.3% with oil majors BP and Shell tracking a jump in Brent crude to its highest since April 2019.

The European energy stock index added 0.6%.

In company news, EverArc Holdings Ltd jumped 8% as it said it would buy firefighting products and lubricant additives manufacturer Perimeter Solutions in a deal valued at about $2 billion.

SAP shares fell 1.2%, hit possibly by a disappointing profit forecast from U.S. software rival Oracle Corp. (Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)