(Reuters) – European stocks slipped on Wednesday as a surge in coronavirus cases and the tone of the first US campaign debate dampened risk appetite at the end of a tumultuous month for financial markets.
The pan-European STOXX 600 Index dropped 0.3% to 10.57 Moscow time following a decline in Wall Street futures after US President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden held their first debate ahead of the November 3 election, exchanging insults and clashed in a controversy over the response to the coronavirus pandemic, health care and the economy.
The UK reported 7,143 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, a record daily increase since the start of the pandemic. Germany may tighten restrictions related to COVID-19.
These factors outweighed optimism after the data showed the rise in retail sales in Germany in August and continued strong growth in manufacturing activity in the PRC in September.
Sensitive to the rise in COVID-19 cases, the travel, automotive and banking sectors led the decline. At the same time, the rise of defensive sectors – telecommunications and generation stocks – helped contain losses.
Shares in Britain's Compass Group (LON: CPG) fell 4.8% after the world's largest catering company said it could report a roughly 20% drop in organic revenue in 2020.
Suez SA, a waste management and water treatment company in France, surged 6.5% after its larger competitor Veolia increased its offer to buy a 29.9% stake in Suez to € 18 per share from € 15.5.
(Shruti Shankar in Bangalore, translated by Elizaveta Zhuravleva. Editor Marina Bobrova)