European stocks slip from record highs ahead of earnings season.

As investors booked profits ahead of the semi-annual earnings season, European and French stocks fell from all-time highs. At the same time, a merger between two French monopolies rose following months of wrangling.

After the two waste management companies agreed to a merger deal worth nearly 13 billion euros ($15.4 billion), Veolia and Suez shares soared 9.7% and 7.7%, respectively.

Technology, travel and leisure stocks, and commodity stocks led to declines for the benchmark pan-European STOXX 600 index, which closed 0.5% below Friday’s record high Friday.

A closer look at upcoming economic data and first-quarter results could justify Wall Street’s sky-high valuations. [MKTS/GLOB]

Analysts expect Europe’s first-quarter earnings to jump 47.4%, according to Refinitiv IBES data. Consumer cyclical and industrial firms are likely to provide a significant percentage of support.

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