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Europe Equities Fight for Gains Amid U.S. Virus Concerns

European stocks struggled for direction as a new week began on Monday, and investors focus remained on rising U.S. coronavirus infection rates and a grim milestones, as global cases surged past 10 million.

Shedding earlier gains, the Stoxx Europe 600 index was flat at 358.09, after a 1.9% drop last week. The German rose 0.2%, the French CAC 40 fell 0.3% and the FTSE 100 index dipped 0.2%.

A reported tally on Sunday from Johns Hopkins University researchers said the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic had reached a grim milestone of 500,108.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar warned on Sunday that “the window is closing” for his country to take action to curb the virus, as he predicted rising deaths and hospitalizations in the next couple of weeks. Texas, Arizona, Florida and California are among the states that have become worrying focal points.

In Europe, a Swiss nightclub and the U.K. city of Leicester reported clusters of outbreaks, though infection rates on the continent have slowed markedly compared with the U.S. or parts of Latin America.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures indicated choppy action, after last Friday’s weak session. The trading week will be shortened by the July 4 holiday on Friday.

Shares of drinks maker Diageo slipped 1%, leading heavyweight decliners. The company has joined a long list of companies vowing not to advertise on Facebook, as a “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign has built momentum. Starbucks, Unilever and Coca-Cola have already joined that movement.

Shares of consumer good company, Unilever fell 2.4%.

Shares of TUI jumped 4% after the travel company reportedly said over the weekend that company reportedly said it had seen a 50% week-on-week increase in bookings over the past week, as British holidaymakers got ready for a lifting of travel lockdowns. TUI outlined its plans to restart travel operations this summer, with flights to Ibiza and Palma starting on July 11, the company said.

Shares of airlines Ryanair Holdings and easyJet rose over 3% and 2% each.

The European Union is expected to announce a further easing of flight and travel restrictions and quarantine measures across the 14-day nation in the coming days, with the U.K. expected to be allowed to come into the bloc. However, the U.S. isn’t expected to make the cut.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged to spend tens billions of pounds to salvage the economy, building hospitals, schools, housing developments and “shovel-ready” road and rail projects, he said in an interview with The Mail on Sunday.

Shares of Wirecard surged 173% after a 95% drop last week. The German fintech company said Saturday that its business activities are continuing, even as it filed for insolvency last week, after revealing that more than $2 billion missing from its balance sheet likely never existed. 

Source: Marketwatch


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