LONDON — European stock markets climbed on Thursday, beginning the second half of 2021 on a positive note as investors anticipated the continent’s economic recovery.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended the session up by 0.6%, with oil and gas shares adding 2.1% while travel and leisure stocks rose 1.9% to lead the gains. Most major bourses finished in positive territory.

The optimism in Europe diverged from the overnight trading in Asia-Pacific, where markets pulled back as a private survey showed Chinese factory activity growth slowing in June. Asian markets are also being weighed down by concerns about a rise in coronavirus infections and fresh lockdowns in the region.

Stateside, stocks were modestly higher Thursday after the S&P 500 also closed out a fifth consecutive month of gains to close at a fresh record.

U.S. weekly initial jobless claims for last week totaled 364,000, setting a pandemic-era low and coming in lower than…

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