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Europe Markets

Oct. 20, 2020, 11:42 a.m. EDT

European stocks end lower ahead of self-imposed U.S. stimulus talks deadline

By Steve Goldstein

European stocks traded in a tight range on Tuesday on worries over the political environment on both sides of the Atlantic, as a wave of the Continent’s largest companies, including UBS and Reckitt Benckiser, reported how the pandemic has helped rather than hindered business.

The Stoxx Europe 600 (STOXX:XX:SXXP) ended 0.3% lower, while the major regional indexes — the German DAX (XEX:DX:DAX) , French CAC 40 (PAR:FR:PX1) , and U.K. FTSE 100 (FTSE:UK:UKX) — were mixed.

U.S. stocks (S&P:SPX) dropped on Monday, but rose on Tuesday, as investors waited for a definitive ruling on the fate of stimulus. A spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she hoped to be able to say whether talks can be completed by the end of Tuesday.

The European Union, meanwhile, indicated it was willing to intensify talks with the U.K. on a new trade pact, but made no other signal it was softening its position, according to a report in The Times newspaper.

The news on the COVID-19 pandemic front continued to be alarming, with Ireland moving to its highest level of restrictions while Wales is set to start a national lockdown on Friday.

The losses came even with a number of well-received earnings reports.

Logitech International’s (SWX:CH:LOGN) (NAS:LOGI) shares jumped 16% as the Swiss-American computer peripheral maker enjoyed a 75% jump in fiscal second-quarter sales, as its profit surged during the quarter and the company hiked its annual guidance.

Shares of biopharmaceutical lab equipment maker Sartorius (ETR:XE:SRT) climbed 3% after saying it now expects revenue at the upper end, or slightly above, its previously forecast 22% to 26% range for the year. The company said it has benefited from the preparations of biopharmaceutical customers to build up production capacities for coronavirus vaccines and COVID-19 therapeutics.

UBS (SWX:CH:UBSG) (NYS:UBS) shares rose 3% as the Swiss banking giant set aside $1.5 billion for stock buybacks, and another $1 billion for dividends, which it expects to receive permission to restart next year. UBS said its third-quarter profit nearly doubled , thanks to a 42% surge in global markets revenue.

Reckitt Benckiser (LON:UK:RB) shares rose as the consumer-products company hiked its sales guidance, now seeing low double-digit percentage growth for the year, thanks to demand for disinfection brands like Lysol.

Shares of remote software provider TeamViewer (ETR:XE:TMV) slumped 8% after Permira sold an 11% stake at an 8% discount to Monday’s close. The stock has surged 34% this year.

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