European shares end lower on lockdown worries, still post third straight weekly gains



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European shares end lower on lockdown worries, still post third straight weekly gains

On Friday, a flurry of European stock indices wrapped up sharply lower with a number of major economies in the bloc including Italy and France re-imposing stiffer pandemic lockdown measures, as an unprecedented slowdown in vaccination drive, in particular over people’s lack of confidence on AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccines, alongside potential supply issues had tormented investors optimism over a near term economic recovery while financials leading the declines.

Nonetheless, despite the day's steep losses, European shares had reported a third straight week of percentage gains. In factuality, in the day’s heavy downpour in a basket of European bourses were almost entirely prodded by a renewed lockdown measure in major economies as beforementioned, while worries over the pace of vaccination campaigns ratcheted up further after Britain had told in a statement that it would have to slow down its inoculation drive next month due to a potential supply shortage caused by a delay in shipments.

Amid such vehement geopolitical concerns on pandemic vaccination in 26-member euro zone, the regional pan-European STOXX 600 fell as much as 0.8 per cent with France’s CAC 40 sliding 1.1 per cent after re-imposition of a four-week long lockdown in 16 regions grievously hurt by a third wave of the outbreak.

European bourses slumped, still post weekly gain

Citing statistics, with financials alongside travel stocks leading the losses in the day’s European bourses, London’s FTSE 100 closed out 1.05 per cent lower to 6,708.71 and French CAC 40 had shrugged off 1.07 per cent to 5,997.96, while Frankfurt’s DAX dropped 1.05 per cent to 14,621.00.

Elsewhere in the Europe, Madrid’s benchmark IBEX 35 was hit with a hefty whiplash of 1.53 per cent to round off at 8,493.00, while Italy’s FTSE MIB shed 0.66 per cent to 24,199.42. Still, European shares had logged a weekly percentage gain of 0.2 per cent following a blowout rally earlier in the week which was largely galvanized by signs that the US Federal Reserve would keep its benchmark interest rate near-zero until a full-fledged economic recovery despite a likely inflation-surge alongside prospects of a rapid economic growth.

Meanwhile, referring to potential financial repercussions of a new leg of stiffer pandemic lockdown measure, an economist for France and Switzerland at ING, Charlotte de Montpellier said, “The new lockdown will have a significant impact on economic activity and further deteriorate France’s economic outlook for the first part of 2021.

The current slow pace of the vaccination campaign leaves little hope for a full lifting of the restrictions after the end of the 4-week lockdown.