Europe’s equity markets slipped Thursday on survey data indicating the region’s economy continued to be battered by coronavirus fallout, despite recent vaccine-driven optimism, dealers said.
Investors weighed Covid-19 vaccine hopes against rising infections and uncertainty surrounding a post-Brexit trade deal, OPEC oil output and a US stimulus package.
In late morning deals, London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index edged down 0.1 percent, having rallied the previous day after a sliding pound pushed up shares in multinationals.
Confirmation that Britain will next week start rolling out the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19 has meanwhile led to traders booking profits following big share-price gains in recent weeks on expectations of mass inoculations before 2021.
In eurozone trades Thursday, Frankfurt’s DAX 30 index dipped 0.6 percent and the Paris CAC 40 shed 0.5 percent.
Oil prices slid before a crucial OPEC production gathering that starts at 1300 GMT, while the British pound clawed back some of the previous day’s losses amid troubled post-Brexit deal talks between the UK and the European Union.
“A more cautious mood has descended on stock markets in Europe… after final PMI readings provided a less than stellar outlook for the region,” noted analyst Chris Beauchamp at trading firm IG.
“The rash of figures confirmed the pessimistic near-term view of the eurozone economy and for the UK as well.
“Losses on stock markets are still relatively modest (because) everyone can see it will have been tough month thanks to (virus) lockdown measures bearing down on economic performance,” Beauchamp added.
Data provider IHS Markit said its closely-watched composite eurozone purchasing managers’ index (PMI) index fell to 45.3 points in November from 50 points in October, according to final estimates.
Britain’s services PMI dropped to 47.6 from 51.4. Any reading above 50 points indicates that activity is expanding — but a level below 50 points indicates contraction.
In contrast to Europe, Asian stock markets mostly rose Thursday as investors tracked renewed US stimulus talks in Washington, while the mood remains upbeat owing to vaccine developments.
Traders are now focusing on regulators in the US and Europe, and the global vaccine rollout that will allow life to get back to normal and the world economy back on track.
Wall Street enjoyed another broadly positive day, with the S&P 500 chalking up another record close, while the Dow also advanced, though the Nasdaq inched down from Tuesday’s all-time high.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi threw her support behind a $908-billion compromise virus relief package proposed by a bipartisan group of lawmakers on Tuesday. The proposal is however half what Democrats had previously been pushing for.
OPEC and other major producers will meet later in the day to try to hash out an agreement to extend output cuts over the coming months.
While the talks have stumbled this week, many still expect they will eventually push back the end of the current production cuts from January 1, 2021 to April 1.
London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.1 percent at 6,456.16 points
Frankfurt – DAX 30: DOWN 0.6 percent at 13,237.58
Paris – CAC 40: DOWN 0.5 percent at 5,556.59
EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.4 percent at 3,508.19
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: FLAT at 26,809.37 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 0.7 percent at 26,728.50 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.2 percent at 3,442.14 (close)
New York – Dow: UP 0.2 percent at 29,883.79 (close)
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.2112 from $1.2115 at 2200 GMT
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3414 from $1.3365
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 104.29 yen from 104.42 yen
Euro/pound: DOWN at 90.30 pence from 90.65 pence
West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.6 percent at $45.03 per barrel
Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.5 percent at $48.00