(RTTNews) – European stocks were flat to slightly lower on Wednesday as a surge in global coronavirus cases and disappointing U.S. retail sales rekindled concerns over global growth.
Europe has reported nearly 14.5 million Covid-19 cases, making it the worst-affected region in the world and accounting for more than 26 percent of all infections so far. France became the first country in Europe to top 2 million confirmed cases of coronavirus.
The pan European Stoxx 600 was little changed with a negative bias at 388.80.
The German DAX and France’s CAC 40 index were also marginally lower, while the U.K.’s FTSE 100 dropped 0.3 percent, hit by a stronger pound amid signs the U.K. and European Union are nearing a breakthrough on Brexit.
Automakers were trading mixed after industry data showed new car registrations in Europe decreased in October after rising in the previous month.
EU passenger car registrations decreased 7.8 percent year-on-year to 953,615 units, following a 3.1 percent increase in September, the Brussels-based European Automobile Manufacturers Association said as several countries in the region returned to lockdown amid a second wave of the coronavirus.
Deutsche Boerse advanced 2.3 percent. The stock exchange operator has agreed to buy an 80 percent stake in corporate governance adviser Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) for about $1.8 billion.
Schaeffler Group, a leading global supplier to the automotive and industrial sectors, lost 7 percent after issuing its mid-term targets up to 2025.
Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping firm, declined 1.2 percent after it unveiled plans to launch a $1.6 billion share buyback program.
Norwegian aluminum and renewable energy company Norsk Hydro ASA rose over 1 percent after it signed a pact with Japanese electronics maker Panasonic Corp. and Norwegian energy company Equinor ASA.
Italian insurance company Generali gained 0.6 percent after it issued an update on the progress of its three-year 2021 strategy, confirming the company’s ability to deliver the financial targets by effectively navigating the Covid-19 crisis.
British property development and investment company British Land tumbled 3.4 percent after widening its first-half loss.
Shares of Halfords Group surged 8 percent after the provider of motoring and cycling products and services reported that its first-half profit more than doubled from last year on strong revenue growth.
RSA Insurance gained almost 4 percent as a consortium of Canadian insurance group Intact and Denmark’s Tryg offered 685p per share for the company.
Micro Focus shares jumped as much as 22 percent. The software group said it expects earnings margins for its last financial year will be “towards the upper end of management expectations.”
In economic releases, U.K. inflation accelerated more-than-expected to a three-month high in October driven by higher clothing and food prices, the Office for National Statistics said.
Consumer prices advanced 0.7 percent on a yearly basis in October, faster than the 0.5 percent increase logged in September. The rate was forecast to rise marginally to 0.6 percent.
Although inflation was the highest in three months, this was well below the Bank of England’s target of 2 percent.
A Global Asset Management Seoul Korea Magazine