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European shares eye best week since March, automobiles lead gains

(Reuters) - Europe's benchmark STOXX 600 rose on Friday and was set for its best week since March, led by automobile stocks as optimism around a likely end to monetary policy tightening by major central banks boosted sentiment.

The pan-European index climbed 0.3% by 0810 GMT, also supported by upbeat earnings and signs of slowing inflation.

Investors' hopes of interest rates having peaked were underpinned by recent holds by the Federal Reserve, Bank of England, European Central Bank and others.

Automobile stocks led sectoral gains, with BMW (ETR:BMWG) advancing 2.6% on higher margin in its automotive segment in the third quarter, and Volvo (OTC:VLVLY) Car rising 4.6% following October sales.

Andritz topped the STOXX 600 index with a 6.5% jump, after J.P.Morgan upgraded the Austrian industrial equipment maker to "overweight" from "neutral", citing strong backlog that gives visibility on next year.

Shipping group A.P. Moller-Maersk dropped 9.2% following third-quarter results.

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