Europe midday: Shares struggle for direction; Virgin Money soars
European markets were struggling for direction at the open on Monday as investors eyed China’s first Covid-19 deaths in six months.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 was down 0.2% at 1230 GMT with all major regional bourses lower.
Overnight, shares in Asia fell on Monday amid growing Covid worries in China as its central bank kept the benchmark lending rates, or loan prime rates, on hold.
The country reported the deaths of three people in Beijing over the weekend as its first in six months, with cases rising despite a stringent zero-Covid policy. Beijing reported 962 new infections on Monday, up from 621 a day earlier.
The National Health Commission on Sunday said it had recorded 26,824 local infections across the nation in the previous 24 hours, nearing April’s peaks.
In economic news, Germany’s monthly producer prices fell unexpectedly in October by 4.2% compared with a gain of 2.3% in the previous month. Annual producer inflation fell to 34.5% from a record 45.8% in September.
Oil prices were trading lower with West Texas Intermediate below $80 a barrel hit by worries about China’s economic outlook.
In equity news, UK bank Virgin Money surged 13% as it posted a 43% rise in annual profits and said it would return £50m to shareholders.
Compass shares fell despite the catering outsourcing outfit reporting higher profits.
HelloFresh outperformed, rising 5.4% after Goldman Sachs started coverage on the German meal-kit maker with a 'buy' recommendation.
Reporting by Frank Prenesti for Sharecast.com