ECB decision, new lockdowns in prospect

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LONDON – European markets fought back on Thursday morning as investors digested new foreclosure measures in France and Germany and awaited the European Central Bank’s latest monetary policy decision.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 was 0.2% higher in early trading after a choppy open. The tech sector added 1.1%, while insurance stocks fell 0.9%.European stocks suffered their worst single-day decline since late September on Wednesday, as Germany and France announced new lockdown measures in a bid to head off the new wave of Covid-19 cases sweeping across the country. Europe. The UK government is also under pressure to tighten restrictions, with cases doubling every nine days, according to a new study from Imperial College London.

Markets are also nervous ahead of the November 3 U.S. election, pushing up coronavirus cases in the U.S. and lowering hopes of an impending fiscal stimulus. Wall Street suffered its worst sell-off in several months on Wednesday, with the Dow losing 934 points. Futures indicate a positive open Thursday.

Asia-Pacific stocks also fell overnight on Thursday following the fall of Wall Street, as South Korean and Australian stocks fell around 1.7% to lead to losses.

Back in Europe, attention will turn to the ECB’s decision on interest rates at 12:45 p.m. London time on Thursday, while the latest October readings of consumer confidence and industry sentiment, economy and services for the euro zone are expected at 10 a.m.

The UK is expected to criticize the EU and the US on Thursday for their “pernicious” trade practices as the country seeks post-Brexit trade deals with the two key allies.

Income at a glance

Corporate profits remain on investor radar, with Credit Suisse recording a 38% drop in third-quarter net income on Thursday, as the coronavirus pandemic and “significant currency headwinds” weigh on earnings at the bank.

Net profit attributable to shareholders was 546 million Swiss francs ($ 600 million), well below the 679 million Swiss francs expected by analysts, according to Reuters Eikon. Shares of the Swiss lender fell more than 4.5% at the start of the trade.

Oil major Royal Dutch Shell on Thursday reported better-than-expected third-quarter profit of $ 955 million and announced plans to increase its dividend to shareholders. Stocks traded 3.5% higher.

BT stock rose 5% after the telecommunications company announced first half results in line with expectations and raised its guidance. German software company Nemetschek was the biggest winner of the Stoxx 600, adding more than 9% after improving its outlook.

At the bottom of the European blue chip index, Finnish telecommunications giant Nokia has plunged more than 17% after cutting its forecast for 2020 and setting its 2021 target below market expectations.

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