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Europe open: Shares downbeat as Covid-19 cases on the rise again

By Frank Prenesti

Date: Friday 13 Nov 2020

(Sharecast News) - European shares opened the week's final session lower as the euphoria over a potential Covid-19 vaccine vanished and attention turned to the soaring number of cases across the continent.


The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was down 0.2% in early trade after a night of losses on Wall Street. US futures were all up.

Sentiment took a hit from rising coronavirus cases, with the number of people requiring hospitalisation in France rising to a record level on Thursday, while UK infections surged by nearly 50%.

In addition, news of a stay at home order in Chicago from Monday and the potential closure of New York schools also weighed on the mood.

CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said that despite the news of a potential vaccine "the reality is that the announcement of a possible candidate was never likely to be able to put a stop to what is currently playing out across Europe, as well as the US, in terms of a sharp rise in coronavirus infection rates, hospitalisations, and ultimately, a sharp rise in mortality rates".

"With the worst of the cold weather yet to arrive and the pace of new infections only expected to increase as we head towards year end, it is slowly becoming apparent that the arrival of a vaccine can't come soon enough."

In a quiet day for corporate news, shares in aircraft engine maker Rolls-Royce were once again under pressure as worries about the coronavirus pandemic returned, with GKN owner Melrose and Primark owner AB Foods also lower.

Italian infrastucture company Atlantia was in the red after a former chief executive was placed under house arrest by judges investigating the Genoa bridge collapse in 2018 that killed 43 people.

French power group EDF after third-quarter revenue fell as the Covid pandemic hit electricity demand and weighed on nuclear energy output in France.

Online supermarket Ocado and food delivery service Just Eat Takeaway - both of which have benefited from lockdowns and restrictions - gained.

Premier Inn owner Whitbread rose affter Barclays upgraded the stock to 'overweight', saying the recovery was in sight. "We view Whitbread as one of the most attractive recovery plays in the sector following this week's vaccine news," it said.

(Michele Maatouk also contributed to this report)

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