European equities struggled for traction on Tuesday as anxiety grew about the economic cost of the pandemic and the short timeframe for US lawmakers to approve further fiscal stimulus before November’s election.
The continent-wide Stoxx Europe 600 index was trading up 0.1 per cent by lunchtime, while Frankfurt’s Xetra Dax slipped 0.2 per cent and London’s FTSE 100 crept 0.2 per cent higher. As infection numbers rose in the region, Ireland announced a six-week lockdown that will apply for six weeks from midnight on Wednesday, while countries including Austria and Italy imposed stricter measures.
In the US, futures contracts tipped both the S&P 500 index and the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 to rise 0.7 per cent at Wall Street’s opening bell.
Energy stocks led the declines in Europe, tracking the price of oil lower. Brent crude, the international benchmark, was down 0.1 per cent at $42.59 a barrel in morning trading, as traders grow concerned that the latest virus clampdowns will reduce fuel demand.
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