By Steve Goldstein
European stocks slipped on Thursday as the European Central Bank didn’t bring forward stimulus even after Germany and France announced lockdown plans.
Down 3% on Wednesday, the Stoxx Europe 600 /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP +0.0023% drifted 0.2% lower.
The German DAX /zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed DX:DAX -0.06% , French CAC 40 /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 -0.25% and U.K. FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX -0.07% each turned mildly lower.
U.S. stock futures /zigman2/quotes/210407078/delayed YM00 -0.61% /zigman2/quotes/210219788/delayed NQ00 -1.02% climbed ahead of huge slate of earnings — including technology giants Alphabet /zigman2/quotes/205453964/composite GOOG -0.46% , Amazon /zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite AMZN +1.22% , Apple /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL -1.30% , and Facebook /zigman2/quotes/205064656/composite FB -0.96% after the closing bell. U.S. gross domestic product as expected saw a 33% annualized jump in the third quarter.
France and Germany on Wednesday separately announced new one-month lockdowns to fight the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Economists at Berenberg say the French economy could contract as much as 4% in the fourth quarter, and the German economy could shrink by 1%.
The ECB as expected left interest rates unchanged and didn’t increase its asset-purchase program. That’s what analysts expected, though some had hoped the ECB would be moved into acting earlier.
“The new round of Eurosystem staff macroeconomic projections in December will allow a thorough reassessment of the economic outlook and the balance of risks. On the basis of this updated assessment, the Governing Council will recalibrate its instruments, as appropriate, to respond to the unfolding situation and to ensure that financing conditions remain favourable to support the economic recovery and counteract the negative impact of the pandemic on the projected inflation path,” said the ECB.
Royal Dutch Shell /zigman2/quotes/206428183/delayed UK:RDSA +0.45% /zigman2/quotes/205095589/composite RDS.A +0.71% rose 2%, as the oil giant’s adjusted earnings of $955 million came in well ahead of the $146 million expectation.
Nokia /zigman2/quotes/203672305/delayed FI:NOKIA +1.12% /zigman2/quotes/207421390/composite NOK +0.10% slumped 17%, as the telecom equipment maker cut its profit forecast for 2020 and introduced cautious guidance for 2021.
BT Group /zigman2/quotes/209006687/delayed UK:BT.A +3.34% climbed, as the U.K. telecom lifted the low end of its profit forecast. French mobile operator Orange /zigman2/quotes/201008076/delayed FR:ORA +1.34% rose after reinstating a dividend and reporting slightly better-than-forecast third-quarter revenue.