Oct 21, 2020

European Markets Closing Report: European stocks close lower as U.S. stimulus talks continue


Elliot Smith, Holly Ellyatt

LONDON — European stocks closed lower on Wednesday as investors monitored the latest developments in U.S. coronavirus stimulus talks.

.FTSEFTSE 100FTSE5770.76-118.46-2.01415279746
.FCHICAC 40 IndexCAC4851.01-78.27-1.5951512949

The pan-European Stoxx 600 provisionally closed down by around 1.3%, with travel and leisure stocks shedding 2.5% to lead losses as almost all sectors and every major bourse fell into negative territory.

Traders in Europe are tracking the latest political developments stateside. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have made “good progress” during talks, before adding that they “still have a ways to go” before an agreement is reached.

The pair are due to talk again Wednesday and he hopes to see “some kind of agreement before the weekend,” Meadows said. Mnuchin and Pelosi’s conversation Tuesday continued a last-ditch attempt to hash out an agreement before the Nov. 3 election.

On Wall Street, stocks traded mixed as traders kept a close eye on stimulus talks. Goldman Sachs warned in a note to clients Wednesday that an economic stimulus package is unlikely to make it through Congress before the presidential election.

Back in Europe, sterling jumped more than 0.8% against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday after the EU’s top negotiator Michel Barnier suggested that a trade deal with the U.K. is within reach.

Swedish telecoms giant Ericsson saw its shares jump more than 7% after a better-than-expected third-quarter earnings report, while Dutch resourcing firm Randstad added 6.7% after strong results.

Nestle beat third-quarter expectations and raised its 2020 organic sales growth target to 3%, but the consumer titan’s shares edged 0.3% lower by early afternoon.

At the bottom of the European blue chip index, London-listed shares of Centamin plunged more than 20% after the gold miner reported falls in production and sales for the third quarter.

- CNBC’s Pippa Stevens and Eustance Huang contributed reporting to this story.

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