LONDON — European stocks closed lower Thursday as investors’ hopes for an economic recovery following the coronavirus pandemic faltered amid a second wave of cases.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed down by 1% provisionally, with most sectors and all major bourses trading in negative territory. Retail shares led the selling action, declining 2.2%.
Coronavirus developments continue to weigh on sentiment as cases surge in Europe. The number of daily reported coronavirus cases in the U.K. has jumped by a quarter in the past day, according to the BBC. The U.K. reported 6,178 cases, up by 1,252 since Tuesday, as the country grapples with a surge this month. Meanwhile, two German government ministers, Heiko Maas and Peter Altmaier, are now in quarantine after close contacts received positive coronavirus tests.
U.K. Finance Minister Rishi Sunak on Thursday announced a new emergency package of measures to contain unemployment, replacing the country’s furlough scheme which is due to expire next month.
On Wall Street, stocks alternated between gains and losses on Thursday. U.S. unemployment claims totaled 870,000 for the week ending Sept. 19, higher than a Dow Jones estimate of 850,000. Continuing claims — which include those who have received unemployment benefits for at least two straight weeks — declined slightly but were still higher than forecast.
In terms of individual share price movement, Norway’s Nel dropped 11% as Nikola’s tumble stateside continues to drag down green energy stocks.
At the top of the Stoxx 600, Banco BPM jumped almost 6% after its CEO said Italy’s third-largest bank is on alert for further consolidation among the country’s lenders.