European Shares Edge Lower In Cautious Trade

European stocks fell in cautious trade on Thursday as investors awaited more news on stimulus negotiations and the coronavirus vaccine rollouts.

U.S. authorities plan to begin vaccinations by mid-December, while the European Medicines Agency is likely to give emergency approval on December 29th.

On the stimulus front, Japan’s government has committed to more fiscal spending. U.S. President-elect Joe Biden said he believes “tradeoffs” can be made with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to ensure Congress backs a new stimulus package.

In economic releases, the euro zone services PMI was finalized at 41.7 in November, down from October’s 46.9.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index dropped 0.3 percent to 390.65 after ending little changed with a negative bias on Wednesday.

The German DAX shed 0.6 percent, France’s CAC 40 gave up half a percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 was down 0.4 percent.

Investors kept a close eye on the British pound after the BBC reported that a Brexit deal could be reached in the next few days, less than five weeks ahead of Britain’s exit from the bloc.

France warned it could veto a trade deal between the U.K. and the European Union if it doesn’t like the terms.

In stock-specific action, mall operator URW fell nearly 3 percent after announcing tender offer results.

TUI AG shares slumped 4.7 percent. The travel giant has reached a deal with the German government, private investors and banks for an extra 1.8 billion euros or $2.2 billion aid.

Rolls-Royce soared 6 percent. The aerospace and defense technology major announced the acquisition of Servowatch Systems, a U.K.-based international supplier of integrated marine automation solutions for navies, commercial vessels and large yachts.

Retailer J Sainsbury rallied 2.4 percent. The company said it has chosen to forgo the business rates relief on all Sainsbury’s stores granted by the U.K. government and the Devolved Administrations since March.

Orange SA shares declined 1.8 percent. The telecom major announced its plans to launch a conditional public takeover bid to acquire all the shares of Orange Belgium that it does not yet own.

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