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* Biden trade unwinds as Trump leads in swing states
* Healthcare, tech stocks gain sharply
* Zalando jumps on confirming forecast upgrade
Nov 4 (Reuters) - European stocks closed with strong gains
on Wednesday as investors unwound bets of a Democratic sweep in
the U.S. presidential election as the race proved far closer
than polls had predicted.
The healthcare sector, typically considered more
stable during times of economic uncertainty, rallied 4.9%, while
technology stocks that have powered a rebound in global
equities since the pandemic lows, surged 3.0%.
Global markets were whipsawed earlier as U.S. Republican
President Donald Trump took the lead over Democratic rival Joe
Biden in a number of vital swing states, while opinion polls had
given Biden a strong lead nationwide for months.
Adding to concerns, Trump falsely claimed he had won the
election with millions of votes still uncounted, and said he
would go the U.S. Supreme Court to fight for the win if needed.
After falling as much as 1.3% at one point, the pan-European
STOXX 600 index swung 2.1% higher, while the German DAX
gained 2% and UK's FTSE rose 1.7%.
European markets gained earlier this week on anticipation a
Biden win would bring better trade ties with Washington and a
bigger fiscal package for the coronavirus-hit U.S. economy.
Economically sensitive banking, oil & gas
and mining stocks fell into the red after leading a
surge this week on hopes of more stimulus.
Wind turbine makers Vestas and Siemens Gamesa
, which were expected to benefit from Biden's clean
energy plan, fell 3.5% and 1.6% respectively.
"Markets are to some extent reversing the pricing in of the
'blue wave'. We have better support for likes of healthcare and
technology," said Jonathan Stubbs, equity strategist at
On Wall Street, the technology-heavy Nasdaq index
surged 4.1% as investors said chances faded for Democrats to
score a big win in the U.S. Senate, lowering bets of higher
antitrust scrutiny and capital gains taxes.
"We would interpret the outperformance of the Nasdaq as
possibly a divided government, less fiscal stimulus, and more
stay-at-home environment as COVID-19 cases rise," said Matthias
Scheiber, global head of multi asset portfolio management at
Wells Fargo Asset Management.
European equities, which lean on "value" sectors such as
banks and energy, trade at a record low relative to U.S. stocks
which count big on "growth" sectors like technology.
Among individual movers, German online fashion retailer
Zalando jumped 4% after it confirmed the increased
guidance it gave last month.
Britain's Marks & Spencer surged almost 5% after
encouraging performance in its food business but reported the
first loss in its 94 years as a publicly listed company.
(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Graphic by Danilo
Masoni in Milan; editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Bernadette