Wednesday, 21 Oct 2020

European stocks bounce on tech support, virus concerns linger

(Reuters) – European stocks bounced on Tuesday after a sell-off in the previous session, as technology and healthcare stocks gained, but worries about new coronavirus restrictions in Britain and elsewhere kept travel stocks under pressure.

FILE PHOTO: The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, September 17, 2020. REUTERS/Staff

The pan-European STOXX 600 index .STOXX rose 0.8%, recovering from its worst fall in three months, with technology stocks .SX8P that have outperformed this year, rising 1.6%.

With COVID-19 cases rising rapidly in the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to announce fresh restrictions that includes closing of pubs, bars, restaurants and other hospitality venues at 10 p.m. across England.

UK’s midcap index .FTMC, made up of more domestically focussed companies, fell 0.5%, with pub owners JD Wetherspoon JDW.L, Mitchells & Butlers MAB.L and Marston’s MAR.L trading flat to marginally higher.

UK’s internationally oriented FTSE 100 .FTSE, however, rose 0.5%, benefiting from a weaker pound, while the German DAX .GDAXI jumped 1.1%.

“Growth stocks and megacaps have proven resilient showing that for now contagion hasn’t set in with force,” Sebastien Galy, macro strategist at Nordea Asset Management, wrote in a note. “This means that as volatility increases through losses one isn’t forced that much to sell winners.”

A slew of rating actions also helped, with Danish shipping firm AP Moeller Maersk MAERSKb.CO gaining 4.1% after JP Morgan upgraded the company’s shares to “overweight”, while British American Tobacco BATS.L gained about 3% after RBC boosted its rating to “outperform”.

Travel & leisure stocks .SXTP fell 0.5%, adding to a 5.2% drop in the previous session, with surging COVID-19 cases across Europe threatening to hamper travel demand again.

Premier Inn-owner Whitbread WTB.L slipped 2.7% after saying it plans to cut 6,000 jobs in its hotel and restaurant units.

UK’s Beazley BEZG.L said it expects claims linked to the novel coronavirus pandemic to double to $340 million, driving its shares down nearly 13%.

Airbus SE AIR.PA fell 1.9% after Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury told a French radio station that the situation with airlines was worse than what was expected since summer.

Italian stocks .FTMIB gained 1.2%, with Unicredit CRDI.MI up 0.5% after a local newspaper reported that Italy’s Treasury once again turned to the lender to buy its stake in Monte dei Paschi di Siena BMPS.MI, which rose 5.3%.

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