European stocks and U.S. equity futures fall as global virus worries increase

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European stocks and U.S. equity futures fall as global virus worries increase


European stocks and U.S. equity futures dropped on Friday, on rising COVID-19 cases and lockdown worries globally, and as optimism surrounding a leadership change at the White House ran out of steam.

The Stoxx Europe 600
XX:SXXP
fell after two straight sessions of gains, dropping 0.9% to 407.09. The German DAX
DX:DAX
fell 0.8%, with the French CAC 40
FR:PX1
down 1% and the FTSE 100
UK:UKX
losing 0.5%.

The S&P 500
SPX
and Nasdaq Composite
COMP
logged fresh records on the first full day in office for President Joe Biden, but Wall Street futures pointed to a pullback for Friday. S&P futures
ES00
dipped 0.6%, while those for the Nasdaq-100
NQ00
fell 0.5%. Dow futures
YM00
dropped over 200 points.

The pullback came partly amid signs the Republicans will put up resistance to Biden’s $1.9 trillion fiscal stimulus proposal. The European Central Bank, meanwhile, kept interest rates and its asset-buying program unchanged at Thursday’s meeting, but did make a slightly hawkish tweak to its policy statement.

Read: Democrats’ hope for fast start in Senate stalled by Republican filibuster demand

Virus worries were front and center with Asian stocks falling, as a spike in Chinese infections sparked testing of millions in Beijing, and an urging by the government to avoid travel during February’s Lunar New Year holiday.

EU leaders, meanwhile, were unable to decide on whether to close borders at a virtual meeting on Thursday, but urged against travel between European countries. And the U.K. government indicated at a press conference on Thursday that a third lockdown could extend into the summer.

Adding to investor worries, data showed the flash eurozone purchasing managers index dropping in January to a two-month low of 47.5, coming close to the expected 47.6 — from 49.1 in December.

Among stocks on the move, virus concerns were reflected in a pullback for travel-related stocks, with shares of Anglo-German travel and tourism group TUI
XE:TUI1
dropping nearly 8%, while airline group International Consolidated Airlines
UK:IAG
fell 2.9%, and Aéroports de Paris
FR:ADP
fell 2%. Airline Deutsche Lufthansa’s
XE:LHA
shares dropped 2%, and those for budget carrier easyJet
UK:EZJ
slid 3.8%.

Stocks geared to economic recoveries were also dropping, with automobile makers and oil companies such as Royal Dutch Shell
RDS

UK:RDSA
and BP
UK:BP
falling more than 1% as crude prices
CL
dropped along with equities.

Shares of ProSiebenSat.1 Media
XE:PSM
rose 4%, after the broadcaster late on Thursday reported revenue and adjusted earnings that beat its own expectations and those of markets.

Siemens’
XE:SIE
shares rose 4%, after the engineering company said late on Thursday that preliminary results for the first quarter of its financial year were mostly ahead of market expectations, and that it will now review its outlook.



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