European stocks sink on fears of new COVID lockdowns

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.

UK’s internationally oriented FTSE 100, however, rose 0.5%, benefiting from a weaker pound, while the German DAX 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 gaining 4.1% after JP Morgan upgraded the company’s shares to “overweight”, while British American Tobacco gained about 3% after RBC boosted its rating to “outperform”.

Travel & leisure stocks 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 slipped 2.7% after saying it plans to cut 6,000 jobs in its hotel and restaurant units.

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

Airbus SE 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 gained 1.2%, with Unicredit 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, which rose 5.3%.

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DailyTimes, 23 Sep, 2020

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