European stocks slide as COVID worries swamp investors

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European stocks fell on Monday, following losses in global equities, as investors worried about the surge in COVID-19 cases and restrictions to combat them, alongside concerns that a key US spending bill was in trouble.

“With record-breaking cases of COVID in the UK over the past few days and new restrictions implemented across Europe, it almost looks like a replay of action from 12 months ago, with some scientists from the UK calling for a new foreclosure before Christmas, in a move that will likely be as welcome as a toothache, ”said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.

The Stoxx Europe 600 SXXP index,
-2.53%
was down 2.3% to 462, after finishing last week with a decline of 0.4%. The German DAX DAX,
-3.01%
is down 2.8%, the French CAC PX1,
-2.53%
was down 2.3% and the FTSE 100 UKX index,
-2.20%
was down 2.2%. The euro EURUSD,
+ 0.22%
rose 0.1% and the pound GBPUSD,
-0.39%
fell 0.2%.

The Netherlands entered a nationwide lockdown on Sunday evening, with schools, universities and all non-essential shops, bars and restaurants closed until January 14, as France and Austria tighten travel restrictions and Ireland imposed an 8 p.m. curfew on indoor and outdoor pubs, bars and entertainment events. The Spanish and Italian governments will also meet this week to consider new measures.

Read: Europe reimposes restrictions to curb omicron; The Netherlands again confined

The UK reported an additional 82,886 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases on Sunday, and officials said further restrictions before Christmas could not be ruled out. The British Medical Association has warned that nearly 50,000 doctors, nurses and other National Health Service staff in England could be on sick leave by Christmas Day, unless further measures are taken.

Europe also tracked losses in US ES00 stock index futures,
-1.65%

NQ00,
-1.65%

YM00,
-1.60%,
who fell on COVID concerns and concerns that President Joe Biden’s key $ 2 trillion spending bill was in trouble after Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) said Sunday that he couldn’t support it. This development prompted Goldman Sachs to downgrade its growth forecast in the United States for 2022.

Almost all equity sectors were in the red, with the apparel, banking, tech and pharmaceuticals sectors leading the declines.

Among heavyweights, chip group ASML Holding fell 2%, German enterprise software group SAP SAP,
+ 0.71%

SAP,
-3.56%
was down 3%, while the MC of luxury group LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton,
-2.35%
the stock fell 2.6%. AstraZeneca shares AZN,
-1.87%

AZN,
-1.67%
fell 1.8%.

Also weighing on indexes, the losses of energy names, like US CL00,
-4.50%
and world benchmark Brent crude prices BRN00,
-3.97%
fell by more than 3% each. TotalEnergies TTE actions,
-2.93%

TTE,
-1.67%,
BP BP,
-1.61%

BP,
-3.76%
and Royal Dutch Shell RDS.A,
-1.75%

RDSA,
-2.84%
stocks fell about 3% each.

In the downward direction, the shares of BNP Paribas BNP,
-0.96%
rose 0.7%, after the French bank said it would sell its US unit, Bank of the West, to the Bank of Montreal for $ 16.3 billion in cash. As a result, BNP said it would realize an exceptional capital gain, net of tax, of approximately € 2.9 billion ($ 3.26 billion) and increase its Tier 1 capital ratio by 170. basis points.


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