By Barbara Kollmeyer
European equities struggled for traction on Friday, as investors kept an eye on COVID-19 and economic recoveries, while Adidas was a standout gainer.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP +0.16% was flat at 456.84, but up 1% for the week to date so far. The German DAX /zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed DX:DAX -0.18% slipped 0.2%, the French CAC 40 /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 +0.02% fell 0.4% and the FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +0.64% gained 0.3%. The euro /zigman2/quotes/210561242/realtime/sampled EURUSD -0.2144% rose, while the pound /zigman2/quotes/210561263/realtime/sampled GBPUSD -0.3412% was flat.
U.S. stocks /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -0.10% /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -0.61% /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP -1.00% opened higher following Thursday’s sharp gains on Wall Street after Biden said he had reached a deal with a bipartisan group of lawmakers on an infrastructure plan.
Markets cheered the prospect of the deal contributing momentum to the reopening of the U.S. economy, with some investors pencilling in more spending beyond what was outlined on Thursday.
“This, however, does not mean that it is a done deal, as the deal still needs more than 60 votes in the Senate and needs to be approved in the House, which is probably not going to be easy,” cautioned Mikael Olai Milhøj, chief analyst at Dankse Bank, in a note to clients.
In Europe, data showed German consumer sentiment is forecast to rise in July as the Covid-19 pandemic retreats and the economy reopens, according to data from the market-research group GfK released Friday.
A top gainer on the Stoxx 600 was adidas /zigman2/quotes/206448829/delayed XE:ADS -1.89% , with shares up close to 6% after U.S. rival sportswear maker Nike /zigman2/quotes/203439053/composite NKE -1.47% topped Wall Street revenue estimates by more than $1 billion in its fiscal fourth-quarter, in contrast to deep losses a year ago. Elsewhere, shares of JD Sports Fashion /zigman2/quotes/207007202/delayed UK:JD -1.43% climbed more than 3.5%.
Most airlines and travel stocks slipped even after the U.K. government added Malta, Madeira, Spain’s Balearics and some Caribbean nations to the so-called “green list” of places that won’t require travelers to quarantine upon returning home, as long as they test negative before returning and once they arrive. There was some disappointment that tourist hotspots such as Greece and mainland Spain were left off the list.
Ministers also said they may drop quarantine rules for fully vaccinated travelers returning home from countries on an amber list, with details to be announced next month.
But some European leaders reportedly said they planned to follow the advice of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and tighten up borders to keep out the highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19 that has spread across the U.K.
Shares of InterContinental Hotels Group /zigman2/quotes/204459500/composite IHG -1.48% /zigman2/quotes/202865596/delayed UK:IHG -0.10% , travel group TUI /zigman2/quotes/206000695/delayed XE:TUI1 +0.93% , cruise company Carnival /zigman2/quotes/210414141/delayed UK:CCL +1.47% and International Consolidated Airlines /zigman2/quotes/208070069/delayed UK:IAG -0.44% all dropped around 2% each. Shares of cut-rate airline easyJet /zigman2/quotes/202825892/delayed UK:EZJ -0.95% fell 1.5%.
Shares of pharmaceutical were also weighing on the downside, with shares of Novartis /zigman2/quotes/203286410/delayed CH:NOVN +0.56% /zigman2/quotes/203243705/composite NVS -0.44% , AstraZeneca /zigman2/quotes/200304487/composite AZN +0.13% /zigman2/quotes/203048482/delayed UK:AZN +0.13% and Novo Nordisk /zigman2/quotes/203484366/composite NVO +0.94% /zigman2/quotes/207193277/delayed DK:NOVO.B +0.67% all lower.
Auto makers were also under pressure, with Renault /zigman2/quotes/200919924/delayed FR:RNO +3.32% down 2% and Daimler off more than 1%.