European markets flat on virus, Brexit, stimulus concerns

Published On: October 15, 2020Categories: Stocks & Shares1.6 min read

London and Paris stock markets struck a cautious note while Frankfurt gained just 0.1 percent following overall declines due to the worsening coronavirus crisis

Stock markets found little inspiration Wednesday as they weighed fading US stimulus hopes, stubborn coronavirus worries and growing uncertainty over Britain’s post-Brexit trade with the European Union.

In Europe, sterling recovered a little ground against the dollar after faltering, as a deadline set by the British to reach a post-Brexit trade deal approaches on Thursday with no sign of a breakthrough in talks amid media reports they could be extended.

Noting new virus restrictions in Europe and beyond, ThinkMarkets analyst Fawad Razaqzada cautioned that “at this rate, there is a good chance economic recovery will stall in Europe and investors are evidently responding by reducing their exposure on the euro and European stock.”

London and Paris also sagged while Frankfurt closed just 0.1 percent ahead after Tuesday had brought declines all round on the worsening coronavirus crisis.

Virus concerns have returned to the fore amid a surge in new infections and the halting of two vaccine trials, denting hopes for a cure or treatment being developed anytime soon.

The Covid-19 resurgence in recent weeks has led to mounting fears for the economic recovery, particularly in Europe where governments are resorting to new controls while trying to avoid the devastating nationwide lockdowns of March and April.

The Netherlands is set to go into “partial lockdown” later Wednesday, with all bars, cafes and restaurants to close for at least two weeks, while French President Emmanuel Macron ordered a nighttime curfew for Paris and eight other French cities.

Meanwhile, there has been an online coronavirus shopping boom.

In London, there was strong evidence of key internet-focused businesses benefiting from virus lockdowns.

Anglo-Dutch online food delivery service Just Eat Takeaway revealed orders rocketed 46 percent in the third quarter, compared with a year earlier.

The company, which competes with Deliveroo and Uber Eats, saw its share price jump 5.25 percent to 9,306 pence.

Online fashion retailer ASOS said pre-tax profits more than quadrupled to £142.1 million ($185 million, 157 million euros) in its financial year to the end of August, and sales soared by a fifth.

About the Author: Jonathan Adams

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