Europe open: Shares higher as investors weigh Brexit summit
European shares were higher at the opening on Wednesday as investors digested earnings in the US and the upcoming Brexit summit in Brussels.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 was marginally higher with the German DAX, Britain’s FTSE 100 and French CAC 40 all up.
Sterling was down 0.5% against the dollar at 1.2875 as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was due to hold a call with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen later on Wednesday ahead of a two-day meeting of the European Council, during which Brexit talks are on the agenda.
EU leaders meeting in Brussels will say that "progress on the key issues of interest to the Union is still not sufficient for an agreement to be reached", according to draft conclusions.
US stock futures indicated minor gains for the opening, after a weaker session overnight on news of US drugmaker Eli Lilly reporting a pause in its trial for a Covid-19 vaccine.
Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said: "Despite opening in a world edging towards the kind of restrictions seen six months ago, the European markets held their nerve at Wednesday’s open, even if they were unable to do much more than that.
"There was also the added pressured of a pause in the Eli Lilly monoclonal antibody trial to treat coronavirus, just a day on from the stalled progress of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine trial.
On equities markets, travel-related stocks were under pressure as the UK imposed new three-tier coronavirus restrictions.
Shares of British Airways and Iberia owner IAG, Deutsche Lufthansa and Ryanair were all lower.
ASML Holding shares fell as the Dutch semiconductor maker reported a sharp rise in third-quarter net profit, but warned of economic uncertainties ahead.
Atlantia shares topped the gainers board, up almost 10% on reports Italy's state lender CDP had teamed up with private equity firm Blackstone and infrastructure fund Macquarie to prepare a bid for the company’s stake in its motorway unit.
Education publisher Pearson gained as it posted a 14% decline in revenue for the first nine months of 2020 but said the trend was improving in the third quarter, with a strong performance from its global online learning business.
Just Eat Takeaway was in the black after the food-ordering firm reported a 46% year-on-year rise in orders during the third quarter, driven by continuing coronavirus curbs.
Distribution and services group Bunzl rose 5.5% rallied after the company reported a rise in third-quarter revenue thanks to the sale of Covid-19 related products and said second-half revenue was expected to grow strongly.