European stocks slide on possible virus restrictions

·2-min read
Traders are hoping US lawmakers can push through a new stimulus package for the US before the Senate takes up Trump's impeachment trial

European stock markets headed south Monday as France was reportedly headed for a fresh lockdown over the coronavirus pandemic.

In New York, the Dow Jones index slid lower at the opening bell.

The main Asian markets ended higher.

The dollar traded mixed, while oil prices declined.

"A somewhat drab start to European trade has highlighted the detrimental impact of the lockdown measures seen throughout the region, with traders casting aside the optimism seen throughout Asia overnight," noted Joshua Mahony, senior market analyst at IG trading group.

"France looks set for a third lockdown, with the spread of the UK strain likely to bring further travel restrictions."

Border restrictions were being tightened around the world, after a weekend in which anger at social distancing rules erupted into fiery clashes in the Netherlands.

The United States was set to join France, Israel and Sweden in refusing certain arrivals, with special concern about new strains of the pathogen that originated in Brazil, Britain and South Africa.

Elsewhere, investors kept tabs on the progress of US President Joe Biden's economic rescue package.

Lawmakers in Washington are working on a $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal from the new president, with some suggesting they could pass something before the Senate holds an impeachment trial of Donald Trump.

That is expected during the week beginning February 8.

But the stimulus will likely face headwinds from Republicans who think another massive outlay comes too soon after the $900 billion spending package passed at the end of last year.

The Federal Reserve will also hold its first meeting under the Biden administration this week, with investors looking for clues about its plans for monetary policy.

In France, shares in the electricity company EDF plunged by almost 18 percent to 10.17 euros in afternoon trading owing to a media report that its reorganisation plan faced stiff opposition from EU officials.

- Key figures around 1430 GMT -

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 1.0 percent at 6,631.15 points

Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 1.3 percent at 13,688.22

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 1.3 percent at 5,488.76

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 1.1 percent at 3,564.21

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.4 percent at 30,864.54

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.7 percent at 28,822.29 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 2.4 percent at 30,159.01 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.5 percent at 3,624.24 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.2148 from $1.2168 at 2130 GMT on Friday

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 103.77 yen from 103.79 yen

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3681 from $1.3683

Euro/pound: DOWN at 88.80 pence from 88.92 pence

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.4 percent at $52.08 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.3 percent at $55.26 per barrel