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Europe: Shares end lower on US virus woes; banks drag

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European stocks closed lower on Friday as losses on Wall Street following a surge in US coronavirus cases added to worries over the pace of the global economic recovery.

[BENGALURU] European stocks closed lower on Friday as losses on Wall Street following a surge in US coronavirus cases added to worries over the pace of the global economic recovery.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index fell 0.4 per cent after hovering in positive territory earlier in the session.

Banks were the biggest decliners, down 2.2 per cent, while their transatlantic peers took a hit from the US Federal Reserve's move to cap shareholder payouts.

Financial markets this week have swung between fears that a resurgence in Covid-19 cases could trigger fresh restrictions and optimism over improving economic data in Europe as many countries relax lockdown measures.

European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said the euro zone is "probably past" the worst of the economic crisis caused by the pandemic, but the recovery will be uneven.

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However, the Stoxx 600 lost some steam heading into the close as investors focused on a record one-day rise in US Covid-19 cases.

"Friday's session was, all told, a bit of a mess, one that pretty accurately captured the conflict between investors' wishes and reality," said Connor Campbell, a financial analyst at SpreadEx.

The STOXX 600 recorded a near 2 per cent decline for the week, with travel and leisure stocks lagging the most.

Air France-KLM closed 3.4 per cent lower after rising earlier on news the Dutch government will provide 3.4 billion euros (S$5.3 billion) in support to its Dutch arm.

UK stocks outperformed their European peers with a 0.2 per cent rise as the British government took more steps to relax the coronavirus lockdown.

Britain's biggest retailer Tesco rose 1.9 per cent after it reported an 8.7 per cent increase in underlying UK sales in its first quarter, boosted by the coronavirus lockdown.

AMS rose 1.5 per cent after the Austria-based semiconductor company rejected media allegations of market manipulation during its takeover of Osram.

Sweden's H&M fell 5.5 per cent after the world's second-biggest fashion retailer saw a slightly deeper than expected loss in the second quarter.

Adidas slipped 2.1 per cent after Nike Inc reported an unexpected quarterly loss.

REUTERS

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