European Stocks Gain on Signs of Economic Recovery; Carmakers Shine
European stock markets traded higher Friday, helped by fresh signs of economic recovery although fresh curfew measures in Europe will likely limit the gains.
German private sector activity grew for the fourth month running in October, according to Markit’s flash composite Purchasing Managers’ Index. While the services sector showed weakness, the dominant manufacturing sector proved robust, with the flash PMI rising to 58.0, its highest level since April 2018.
U.K. retail sales rose more than expected last month, jumping 1.5% from August, and gaining over 17% in the third quarter following a lockdown-induced slump in the previous period.
This news will be welcomed by policy makers as the region heads into the winter period amid rising cases of the Covid-19 virus and with the prospect of a difficult divorce from the European Union by Britain at the end of the year.
The number of reported coronavirus cases in Europe have more than doubled in 10 days, crossing 200,000 daily infections for the first time on Thursday, according to a Reuters tally. Specifically, France is set to widen a curfew to more than two thirds of its population after the country set an all-time daily high of new coronavirus cases on Thursday.
In corporate news, Daimler .(OTC:DDAIF) stock rose 1.9% after the German carmaker raised its 2020 profit outlook, while French rival Renault ‘s (PA:RENA) stock was up 2.1% after saying it should have positive cash flow from cars by the end of 2020 as sales recovered.
In the U.K., Barclays (LON:BARC) stock rose 4.5% after the banking giant posted a 38% rise in revenue in dollar terms in the third quarter, helped by another strong performance from its investment bank and markets division.
Oil prices slipped slightly Friday, consolidating the previous session’s strong gains after Russian President Vladimir Putin chose not to rule out extending record supply cuts in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, faces a decision on whether to change its output policy at a meeting scheduled to start in late for November amid pressure on fuel demand caused by fresh coronavirus restrictions.
U.S. crude futures traded 0.3% lower at $40.52 a barrel, while the international benchmark Brent contract fell 0.5% to $42.26. Both contracts posted gains of over 1.5% on Wednesday, but are still currently heading for their first weekly loss in three.