European stocks closed slightly higher on Friday amid optimism about a coronavirus vaccine and reports indicating a bigger lead for Democrat Joe Biden over incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump.
Disturbing news about rising coronavirus cases across the world continued to weigh on sentiment, limiting markets‘ upside.
Amid the second wave of the virus infections, Germany expects to continue the latest restrictions imposed to contain the pandemic through winter, while France will keep national lockdown till December 1 at the earliest.
The United Kingdom posted its biggest one-day jump in laboratory-confirmed coronavirus infections.
The pan European Stoxx 600 edged up 0.01%. Germany’s DAX advanced 0.18%, France’s CAC 40 climbed 0.33% and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 declined 0.36%, while Switzerland’s SMI slid 0.03%.
Among other markets in Europe, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Ireland, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Turkey closed higher.
Denmark, Finland, Greece, Iceland, Netherlands, Poland and Portugal drifted lower, while Russia ended flat.
In the UK market, M&G gained 4.8%. Legal & General, Rolls-Royce Holdings, Lloyds Banking, Whitbread, Natwest Group, British Land Company, Persimmon, Taylor Wimpey, Phoenix Group Holdings and Johnson Matthey moved up 2 to 4.3%.
On the other hand, Halma, Experian, Associated British Foods, Intertek, Relx, Next and Smith & Nephew lost 2 to 4%.
In the German market, HeidelbergCement gained more than 2.5% and RWE moved up nearly 2%. Allianz, MTU Aero Engines, Munich RE and Deutsche Bank also closed notably higher.
In France, Renault surged up nearly 6%. Engie, Atos, Vinci, Societe Generale, Bouygues, Publicis Groupe, Unibail Rodamco and Peugeot gained 1.4 to 3.2%.
In economic news, flash estimate from Eurostat showed the euro area economy grew 12.6% in the third quarter, the fastest pace on record, after shrinking for two straight quarters. In the second quarter, growth was down by a record 11.8%.
On a yearly basis, GDP was down 4.4%, much slower than the 14.8% decrease seen in the second quarter. According to the preliminary flash estimate, released on October 31, GDP decreased 4.3% in the third quarter.
The Eurostat data also showed that Euro area trade surplus rose to EUR 24 billion from EUR 21 billion in August. On an unadjusted basis, the trade surplus totaled EUR 24.8 billion versus a EUR 18.3 billion surplus in the same period last year. Year-on-year, exports and imports fell 3.1 percent and 7.1 percent, respectively.
Germany’s wholesale prices continued to decline in October, data from Destatis revealed. The wholesale price index declined 1.9% annually in October, following a 1.8% fall in September. In August, prices decreased 2.2%.
Data from statistical office Insee showed French consumer prices remained unchanged in October, as initially estimated.
Switzerland’s producer and import prices decreased in October, data from the Federal Statistical Office showed on Friday. Producer and import prices fell 2.9% year-on-year in October.
The producer price index decreased 1.6% annually in October and import prices decreased 5.6%. On a monthly basis, producer and import prices remained unchanged in October.
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