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Live Updates: US Consumer Confidence Falls Despite Slowing Inflation

Shares of European luxury goods makers rose, in part on optimism that demand in China will pick up after Beijing eased some of its Covid-19 quarantine measures for the first time since June.

Cartier owner Richemont, which released a buoyant half-year earnings report on Friday, at one point in the day led the charge on the benchmark Stoxx 600 index. Its Zurich-listed shares, which gained as much as ‘at 12.4% on Friday, were recently up 10.5%, on track for their biggest daily percentage gain since May. Friday’s gains reduced the group’s decline for the year to 13%.

The rally in European luxury stocks comes after “positive” news that Beijing’s “restrictions may start to ease”, said Natasha Brilliant, luxury analyst at Credit Suisse, adding that investors are “hopeful of a story of recovery in China”.

“The key questions for near-term luxury investors are very much centered on when China might reopen and how quickly Chinese demand for luxury will rebound,” she said.

Luxury groups have reported in recent weeks a rebound in consumer spending in areas that have opened up in China.

Shares of other European luxury goods makers, such as LVMH, Kering, Pernod Ricard and Hermès, gained on Friday, along with Milan-based fashion house Moncler and French designer Dior.

Richemont, which owns Chloé and Van Cleef & Arpels and produces high-end jewelry and watches popular with Chinese buyers, benefits from a dynamic Asia-Pacific as it generates more sales there than any other region.

Asia-Pacific contributes 39% of group revenue, putting the company on track to benefit from a return of Chinese to stores.

Store sales in mainland China and Macau, due to the zero Covid policy, led to double-digit revenue declines in the first six months of the year, Richemont said in Friday’s statement. The decline was partially mitigated by sales elsewhere in the region.

China said on Friday it would ease its quarantine restrictions for close contacts and foreign visitors for the first time since its Communist Party congress last month.

Beijing has become an international outlier with its zero Covid policy of lockdowns and mass testing that has stifled consumer spending at home.

Hazel J. Edmonds

The author Hazel J. Edmonds