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Europe Markets

Sept. 8, 2021, 9:20 a.m. EDT

European stocks slump as worries spread about COVID’s global growth

By Barbara Kollmeyer

Stocks slid in Europe on Wednesday, a move that kept pace with markets elsewhere as investors assessed how the delta variant of coronavirus will harm global economies.

The Stoxx 600 index (STOXX:XX:SXXP) fell 0.8% to 469.12, and was poised for its worst one-day percentage loss since mid July. The German DAX (XEX:DX:DAX) dropped 0.9%, the French CAC 40 (PAR:FR:PX1) fell 0.5% and the FTSE 100 index (FTSE:UK:UKX) lost 0.7%. The euro slipped 0.2% to $1.1822.

Investors are struggling with concerns over the delta variant’s spread and its effect on the global economy after weaker-than-expected U.S. jobs data last week. U.S. stocks were set for a slightly lower open, while Asian stocks had a mixed session.

READ : Stocks may fall 15% by year-end, warns Morgan Stanley. Here are some portfolio moves investors might consider.

European stocks have “already transitioned to a mid-cycle regime and are not priced for perfection any more, despite the prevailing liquidity factor pushing them higher,” a team of Barclays strategists led by Emmanuel Cau, said in a note to clients. The Stoxx 600 has seen a solid performance this year so far, with a gain of nearly 18%, just behind a 20% rise for the S&P 500 (S&P:SPX) .

Cau and the team said they see catch-up potential for value/reflation plays after summer, and have swapped an overweight in technology and mining for luxury goods and autos, and remain overweight on banks and energy.

“Stagflation is on everyone’s lips, but this looks excessive to us. While the growth-inflation-policy mix is arguably less bullish now, we still find it supportive of equities,” said the Barclays team. They offered three reasons for this, including the likelihood that economic reopenings will carry on despite the delta variant, more fiscal stimulus in the U.S. and China should help, alongside pent-up services demand, and inflation will likely be transitory, allowing a slow pace of unwinding liquidity by the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank (ECB).

The European Central Bank is due to meet Thursday, with economists expecting the central bank will pare the rate of bond purchases made using the central bank’s Pandemic Emergency Purchase Program.

The pharmaceutical sector was the weakest, with shares of Novartis (SWX:CH:NOVN) were down 2.3% and those of AstraZeneca (NAS:AZN) (LON:UK:AZN) fell 2%. Shares of Sanofi fell 2.1%. The French pharmaceutical announced it had agreed to acquire U.S.-based biopharmaceutical company Kadmon Holdings in a deal worth $1.9 billion .

Shares of Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (MCE:ES:SGRE) slid 7% and Siemens Energy (ETR:XE:ENR) dropped 6% after the renewable energy companies were each cut to neutral from overweight at JPMorgan. For Siemens Gamesa, analyst Akash Gupta said the earnings downgrade cycle will likely last longer. That downgrade led to the cut for Siemens Energy, which owns 67% of Siemens Gamesa.

The airline sector was among the brighter spots, with shares of easyJet up more than 3% and stock in Flughafen Zurich (SWX:CH:FHZN) , Aeroports de Paris (PAR:FR:ADP) , Deutsche Lufthansa (ETR:XE:LHA) , Ryanair Holdings (LON:UK:RYA) and Wizz Air (LON:UK:WIZZ) all up by 2% or more.

That sector climbed after The Daily Telegraph reported that the U.K. government may scrap its green and amber travel rules, rather developing a system around the vaccination status of travelers, instead of the intended country being visited.

Also rising were shares of B&M European Value Retail (LON:UK:BME) , up nearly 6% and the Stoxx Europe 600’s best performer after an upbeat first-half update.

Link to MarketWatch's Slice.