Europe Lower Amid Recovery Worries; Infineon Drops By

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By Peter Nurse – European stock markets traded sharply lower Friday, despite positive data from the region, amid concerns that the U.S. economic recovery is stalling due to the coronavirus.

At 3:55 AM ET (0755 GMT), the in Germany traded 2.2% lower, the in France fell 2.1% and the U.K.’s index was down 1.8%. 

Economic data from Europe painted a healthy picture Friday, as U.K. rebounded in June, climbing 13.9% on the month, while PMI data from the region suggested the post-lockdown recovery has shifted up a gear.

However, this had little impact as investors are now questioning the strength of the economic recovery in the U.S., the world’s largest economy and main driver, after Thursday saw the first rise in the number of Americans filing for since the last week in March. Worries were compounded as Senate Leader Mitch McConnell warned that Republicans won’t be able to present their proposals for an extended package of stimulus measures until next week.

“This is especially worrying as negotiations on the extension of temporarily higher unemployment benefits seem unlikely to result in a breakthrough before the program expires at the end of July,” said analysts at Danske Bank, in a research note.

Congress enters a summer recess in August, leaving the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives and the Republican-controlled Senate little time to bridge their differences over how to proceed.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 continues to gnaw away at the U.S. economy, killing over 1,100 Americans on Wednesday and pushing the total U.S. case count above 4,000. Walt Disney (NYSE:) postponed the release of its new Mulan movie and the next movie off the Star Wars production line Thursday, amid concerns that cinemas will struggle to attract visitors for the foreseeable future. 

In corporate news, Vodafone (LON:) stock dropped 3.6% after the world’s second-biggest mobile operator said it would list its towers infrastructure business in Frankfurt next year.  Its fiscal first-quarter earnings were better than expected.

Additionally, Infineon (DE:) and ASML Holding NV (AS:) both fell nearly 5%, mirroring the underperformance by U.S. tech stocks on Thursday after Intel ‘s (NASDAQ:)’s production warning prompted profit-taking.

Oil prices were lower Friday, although demand concerns stemming from rising coronavirus cases and a faltering economic recovery in the U.S., the biggest consumer of crude, has tempered the gains. In Norway, major Equinor posted a surprising profit for the three months through June.

At 3:55 AM ET, futures traded 0.1% lower at $41.02 a barrel, while the international benchmark contract fell 0.1% to $43.29.

Elsewhere, rose 0.3% to $1,895.55/oz, while traded up 0.2% at 1.1613.


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