Europe midday: Investors fret over rising global Covid-19 cases
European shares were lower at midday as investors fretted over rising coronavirus deaths Japan, the US and Continent.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was down 0.82% with the German DAX, French CAC 40 and UK FTSE 100 all off by similar levels. US futures indicatadestart in the red for Wall Street.
"After the soaraway gains of the past two weeks, equities now look much more richly-valued, and thus vulnerable to an outbreak of bad news. This is precisely what we got in the form of spreading infections in the US but also in Japan, a worrying sign indeed for a country that had been successful earlier in the year in controlling the spread," said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG.
In equity news, B&Q owner Kingfisher shares fell 5.4% even as it reported a strong rise in third-quarter sales as consumers spent the coronavirus lockdown improving their homes.
Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor, noted that over the last year, the outperformance of the share price has been significant, with a rise of 43% compared to a decline of 13% for the wider FTSE 100.
"Quite apart from the challenges which may be yet to come, the strong performance has led to the question of whether the shares are now up with events, as evidenced by some initial profit taking in early trade, such that the market consensus of the shares remains at a hold," he said.
In corporate news, Halma shares were up 2.85% after the safety equipment maker revised its full-year profit forecasts and lifted its interim dividend as order intake in the second half increased year-on-year.
Royal Mail stock jumped 6% despite swinging to a first-half loss in the first half as redundancy and Covid-19 costs more than offset higher revenue from booming parcel deliveries. The FTSE 250 group swung to a £20m operating loss in the six months to the end of September from a £61m profit a year earlier as revenue rose 9.8% to £5.7bn.
Shares in German forklift maker Kion topped the fallers, dropping 7% after the company said it would issue 11% more shares, at a price still to be determined.
ThyssenKrupp shares were down y% as the German steelmaker said it would cut 7,400 jobs. The group also forecast a full year loss above €1bn.