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Virus worries keep European shares below record highs

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

July 5 (Reuters) - European shares were pinned below record highs on Monday as the global spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus raised fears of a stunted economic recovery, although Morrisons jumped as a takeover battle for the British firm heated up.

The pan-European STOXX 600 was down 0.11% by 0707 GMT, with auto and travel stocks among the biggest decliners.

Mining stocks were among the rare gainers, jumping 1.4% and tracking metals prices.

The benchmark STOXX 600 has struggled to reclaim an all-time high hit mid-June as the jump in virus cases raised the spectre of new travel restrictions and threatened to derail the euro zone’s economic rebound from the pandemic-led recession.

All eyes on Monday will be on the bloc’s business activity data for June, due at 0800 GMT.

French shares fell 0.2% as Health Minister Olivier Veran warned France could be heading for a fourth wave of the pandemic due to the highly transmissible Delta variant.

Shares of Morrisons jumped 11.6% after U.S. private equity company Apollo Global Management said it was considering a possible offer for the British supermarket group. Morrisons on Saturday agreed to a 6.3 billion pound ($8.7 billion) takeover with another group.

Trading volumes are expected to be subdued with U.S. markets closed for an extended 4th of July weekend. (Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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