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European shares slide on the week as lockdowns dull recovery hopes

10/30/2020 | 12:18pm EST
FILE PHOTO:  The German share price index DAX graph at the stock exchange in Frankfurt

(Reuters) - Some strong earnings helped European stocks end higher on Friday, but they posted their sharpest weekly and monthly declines since a brutal selloff in March, as a new round of coronavirus lockdowns dampened prospects for a sustained economic recovery.

Gains in energy major Total and some Spanish banks after upbeat results boosted the pan-European index which finished a volatile session up 0.2%.

Data showing the euro zone economy rebounded more strongly than expected also helped prop up markets, but fears that the recovery would be cut short as countries reintroduce restrictions to stem a second wave of the pandemic kept gains in check.

With Spain, one of Europe's worst COVID-19 hot spots, declaring a state of emergency until early May, and Germany and France reimposing tight restrictions this week, the STOXX 600 lost more than 5% on the week, pushing the monthly performance into negative territory.

"After the drubbing it took earlier in the week, Europe is managing to avoid any bigger losses," said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at online trader IG.

"Better GDP figures might be helping ... but it is more likely due to a grateful realisation that even if Q4 is absolutely dire, the ECB will be along in due course with some form of rescue programme."

On Thursday, the central bank gave its clearest signal yet that it will ease policy in December to help the economy through the health crisis.

Heading into the week of U.S. Presidential elections, a slide in Wall Street's big tech stocks after earnings overnight also weighed on global sentiment, with Europe's tech sector slipping 0.5%.

Apple suppliers ASM International, Dialog Semiconductor and STMicroelectronics fell between 1.2% and 1.7% after the late launch of new 5G iPhones caused customers to put off buying new devices.

Spain's blue-chip IBEX was supported by better-than-expected earnings from lenders Banco Sabadell and BBVA.

French oil and gas producer Total rose 2.8% after it maintained its dividend despite a sharp drop in third-quarter net profit.

Third-quarter earnings season has been largely supportive, with 74% of the nearly half the STOXX 600 companies that reported so far topping profit estimates, according to Refinitiv data.

But video game maker Ubisoft slipped to the bottom of the STOXX 600 after it cut its outlook for the year as the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the production of blockbuster games Far Cry 6 and Rainbow Six Quarantine.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Steve Orlofsky)

By Sruthi Shankar and Susan Mathew

© Reuters 2020
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
APPLE INC. 0.27% 122.99 Delayed Quote.62.17%
ASM INTERNATIONAL N.V. -0.42% 152.7 Delayed Quote.53.12%
BANCO BILBAO VIZCAYA ARGENTARIA, S.A. 1.87% 4.08 Delayed Quote.-19.63%
BANCO DE SABADELL, S.A. 5.08% 0.36 Delayed Quote.-67.06%
DIALOG SEMICONDUCTOR PLC -0.90% 41.62 Delayed Quote.-6.89%
EURO STOXX 50 -0.11% 3521.32 Delayed Quote.-5.87%
IBEX 35 0.98% 8220.8 Delayed Quote.-14.75%
LONDON BRENT OIL 2.03% 48.22 Delayed Quote.-27.74%
STMICROELECTRONICS N.V. -2.65% 33.38 Real-time Quote.43.05%
STOXX EUROPE 600 -0.05% 391.69 Delayed Quote.-5.76%
TOTAL SE 1.05% 36.71 Real-time Quote.-26.16%
UBISOFT ENTERTAINMENT -1.50% 77.5 Real-time Quote.27.77%
WTI 2.47% 45.245 Delayed Quote.-26.33%
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