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Nov. 26, 2020, 4:56 a.m. EST

European stocks struggle for traction as virus worries, U.S. Thanksgiving holiday keep investors on the sidelines

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By Barbara Kollmeyer

European stocks struggled for traction on Thursday, as concerns over climbing COVID-19 cases worldwide and a U.S. holiday kept investors on the sidelines.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP +2.10% traded flat, similar to Wednesday’s session. The month of November has seen a 14% gain for the index thanks to a string of positive vaccine news that has cheered investors. If those gains hold, that will mark the best monthly return in 30 years, according to FactSet data. The German DAX /zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed DX:DAX +3.31% and the French CAC 40 /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 +2.08% fell 0.1% each, and the FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +1.34% dropped 0.5%.

U.S. stock futures /zigman2/quotes/210407078/delayed YM00 +0.42% /zigman2/quotes/209948968/delayed ES00 +0.57% were flat outside of higher Nasdaq-100 /zigman2/quotes/210219788/delayed NQ00 +0.97% futures. U.S. markets will be closed for the Thanksgiving Day holiday , and reopen for a shortened session on Friday.

The Nasdaq Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP -2.41% closed at a fresh record for the first time in three months on Wednesday , but the Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +0.97% edged back from its historic close above a milestone at 30,000 seen Tuesday.

Opinion:   The Russell 2000 has had a powerful November — and the gains aren’t over

That Dow record was fueled by a rotation into previously unloved sectors of the market that have been beaten down by the pandemic. But that action paused as investors absorbed a mixed batch of U.S. data ahead of Thursday’s Thanksgiving Day holiday that comes as 45 of the country’s states battle record infections and hospitalizations. The country’s death toll is the highest in the world.

Investors remain concerned markets may have run up too soon, too fast, despite positive COVID-19 vaccine news, as the rollout of those will take time and global economies are still facing deep struggles.

Read: U.S. is ‘in the middle of the Fight of the Century,’ says former CDC head as cases rise in 45 states, hospitalizations set record

Meanwhile, Europe continues to battle its own second virus wave. Germany extended partial lockdown measures until Dec. 20, with bars, restaurants and other places of leisure closed, after the country’s COVID-19 related deaths reached a record on Wednesday. Gatherings will be limited to five persons, but the measures will be temporarily eased over Christmas.

The partial lockdown is expected to trigger a fall in German consumer sentiment for December, market-research group GfK said Thursday .

While markets appear to have taken the news of Germany’s extended lockdowns in stride, the decision itself “suggests that the coming winter is likely to be a long hard slog for businesses all over Europe, as populations tire of having their freedoms restricted, and concerns grow about the prospect of much longer term economic damage,” Michael Hewsoon, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, told clients in a note.

In the U.K. on Wednesday, Chancellor of the Exchequer Richie Sunak said the nation’s economy was poised to contract by 11.3% this year due to COVID-19, making for the biggest downturn in more than 300 years.  He unveiled a £4.3 billion plan to tackle the likelihood of mass unemployment that will include a 2.2% hike in the minimum wage .

Read: ‘Desperate times need desperate measures’ – analysts react to U.K. spending review

Shares of Britvic /zigman2/quotes/208055220/delayed UK:BVIC +1.26% rose 2% after the soft drinks giant posted a slight gain in pretax profit for the 2020 financial year. It also warned that the pandemic will continue to affect its performance in the first half of the current year.

And shares of Remy Cointreau /zigman2/quotes/206802273/delayed FR:RCO +0.57% slipped nearly 1% after French spirits group said net profit for the first half of fiscal 2021 fell, though it expects a second-half recovery .

Repsol /zigman2/quotes/202941606/delayed ES:REP -2.60% shares fell more than 2% after the Spanish energy group said it would invest 18.3 billion euros ($21.8 billion) between 2021 and 2025 to accelerate growth of low-carbon projects, become sustainable and bolster shareholder return.

Losses for major oil companies weighed on main indexes, with crude oil prices /zigman2/quotes/211629951/delayed CL.1 -0.92% falling by over 1% on Thursday. Shares of BP /zigman2/quotes/202286639/delayed UK:BP -0.05% /zigman2/quotes/207305210/composite BP -0.86% and Total /zigman2/quotes/201824152/composite TOT -1.28% fell more than 0.5% each.

Shares of major banks were also in the red, led by Banco Santander /zigman2/quotes/202859081/composite SAN -1.09% /zigman2/quotes/205677933/delayed ES:SAN +2.50% , down 1.8%, and Lloyds Banking Group /zigman2/quotes/202285510/delayed UK:LLOY +4.25% /zigman2/quotes/200709414/composite LYG +1.79% down 3%.

/zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed
XX : STOXX
417.25
+8.57 +2.10%
Volume: 0.00
March 8, 2021 11:03p
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/zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed
DAX
DX : Xetra Indices
14,380.91
+460.22 +3.31%
Volume: 109,071
March 8, 2021 6:30p
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/zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed
FR : France: Euronext Paris
5,902.99
+120.34 +2.08%
Volume: 103,166
March 8, 2021 6:05p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed
UK : FTSE UK
6,719.13
+88.61 +1.34%
Volume: 919,998
March 8, 2021 4:52p
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/zigman2/quotes/210407078/delayed
US : U.S.: CBOT
$ 31,908.00
+132.00 +0.42%
Volume: 26,918
March 9, 2021 1:22a
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/zigman2/quotes/209948968/delayed
US : U.S.: CME
$ 3,841.00
+21.70 +0.57%
Volume: 128,771
March 9, 2021 1:22a
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/zigman2/quotes/210219788/delayed
US : U.S.: CME
$ 12,416.75
+119.50 +0.97%
Volume: 69,160
March 9, 2021 1:22a
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/zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
12,609.16
-310.99 -2.41%
Volume: 5.27M
March 8, 2021 5:16p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime
US : Dow Jones Global
31,802.44
+306.14 +0.97%
Volume: 499.58M
March 8, 2021 5:05p
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/zigman2/quotes/208055220/delayed
UK : U.K.: London
841.50 p
+10.50 +1.26%
Volume: 368,686
March 8, 2021 4:35p
P/E Ratio
23.77
Dividend Yield
2.57%
Market Cap
£2.22 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
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/zigman2/quotes/206802273/delayed
FR : France: Euronext Paris
158.00
+0.90 +0.57%
Volume: 49,868
March 8, 2021 5:35p
P/E Ratio
94.28
Dividend Yield
0.63%
Market Cap
€7.89 billion
Rev. per Employee
€553,049
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/zigman2/quotes/202941606/delayed
ES : Spain: Madrid
10.68
-0.29 -2.60%
Volume: 10.66M
March 8, 2021 5:38p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
5.92%
Market Cap
€16.98 billion
Rev. per Employee
€1.40M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/211629951/delayed
US : U.S.: Nymex
$ 64.45
-0.60 -0.92%
Volume: 49,313
March 9, 2021 2:22a
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/zigman2/quotes/202286639/delayed
UK : U.K.: London
318.65 p
-0.15 -0.05%
Volume: 52.60M
March 8, 2021 4:35p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
4.77%
Market Cap
£64.35 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
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/zigman2/quotes/207305210/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 26.54
-0.23 -0.86%
Volume: 14.73M
March 8, 2021 4:00p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
5.86%
Market Cap
$88.93 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
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/zigman2/quotes/201824152/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 48.57
-0.63 -1.28%
Volume: 3.21M
March 8, 2021 4:00p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$127.14 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/202859081/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 3.64
-0.04 -1.09%
Volume: 8.00M
March 8, 2021 4:00p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
2.49%
Market Cap
$61.51 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
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/zigman2/quotes/205677933/delayed
ES : Spain: Madrid
3.05
+0.07 +2.50%
Volume: 51.35M
March 8, 2021 5:38p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
0.73%
Market Cap
€51.65 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
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/zigman2/quotes/202285510/delayed
UK : U.K.: London
41.78 p
+1.71 +4.25%
Volume: 279.90M
March 8, 2021 4:35p
P/E Ratio
34.53
Dividend Yield
1.36%
Market Cap
£28.39 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
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/zigman2/quotes/200709414/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 2.28
+0.04 +1.79%
Volume: 9.09M
March 8, 2021 4:00p
P/E Ratio
35.63
Dividend Yield
1.39%
Market Cap
$39.23 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
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