European Stocks Mainly Lower; FTSE 100 Outperforms After U.K. Vaccine News

European Stocks Mainly Lower; FTSE 100 Outperforms After U.K. Vaccine News

© Reuters.  © Reuters.

By Peter Nurse – European stock markets traded largely lower Wednesday, although hopes for more U.S. fiscal stimulus as well as Covid-19 vaccine expectations continue to provide support.

At 4:05 AM ET (0905 GMT), the DAX in Germany traded 0.4% lower, the CAC 40 in France fell 0.3%, while the U.K.'s FTSE index outperformed, climbing 0.1%. These indices posted strong gains Tuesday, the first day of December, continuing the previous month’s sharp move higher.

In Europe, British regulators approved Wednesday the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for use, with distribution beginning next week. This positive news is likely to be duplicated in the European Union shortly, with this vaccine, as well as Moderna’s, already in front of the European regulator.

German retail sales rebounded in October, climbing 2.6% on the month, while negotiators from both the European Union and Britain tried to strike a post-Brexit trade deal before the end of the week.

In corporate news, G4S (LON:GFS) stock rose 7.5% after Canada's GardaWorld increased its offer for the British security services company to 235 pence a share from 190p, now valuing it at 3.68 billion pounds ($4.92 billion).

On the flip side, office provider IWG (LON:IWG) fell 7.7% after launching a 300 million pound convertible bond offering.

A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers unveiled a $908 billion stimulus plan on Tuesday. Although Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell quickly killed the proposal, the fact a new plan is back on the table has investors hopeful for a new package in the near future.

Oil prices were mixed Wednesday, amid uncertainty over whether a group of leading producers will maintain current supply levels going into the new year.

Industry data from the American Petroleum Institute late Tuesday showed U.S. crude inventories rose by 4.1 million barrels last week, compared with expectations for a draw of 2.3 million barrels. Official data are due later in Wednesday’s session.

This release emerged after OPEC and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, had postponed to Thursday a decision over the level of next year’s supply, raising concerns that pressure is growing within the group to raise output despite the current weak overall demand.

U.S. crude futures traded 0.1% lower at $44.52 a barrel, while the international benchmark Brent contract fell 0.1% to $47.45.

Elsewhere, gold futures rose 0.5% to $1,828.15/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.2% lower at 1.2051.

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