Europe Markets

European stocks close lower as U.S. stimulus talks continue

Key Points
  • Traders in Europe are tracking the developments in U.S. coronavirus stimulus talks.
  • Sterling jumped Wednesday after the EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier suggested that a trade deal with the U.K. is within reach.
  • Swedish telecoms giant Ericsson saw its shares jump almost 10% after a better-than-expected third-quarter earnings report.

LONDON — European stocks closed lower on Wednesday as investors monitored the latest developments in U.S. coronavirus stimulus talks.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 provisionally closed down by around 1.3%, with travel and leisure stocks shedding 2.5% to lead losses as almost all sectors and major bourses fell into negative territory.

Traders in Europe are tracking the latest political developments stateside. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have made "good progress" during talks, before adding that they "still have a ways to go" before an agreement is reached.

The pair are due to talk again Wednesday and Meadows said he hopes to see "some kind of agreement before the weekend." Mnuchin and Pelosi's conversation Tuesday continued a last-ditch attempt to hash out an agreement before the Nov. 3 election.

On Wall Street, stocks were mixed as traders kept a close eye on stimulus talks. Goldman Sachs warned in a note to clients on Wednesday that an economic stimulus package was unlikely to make it through Congress before the presidential election.

Back in Europe, sterling jumped 1.6% against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday after the EU's top negotiator Michel Barnier suggested that a trade deal with the U.K. is within reach.

Swedish telecoms giant Ericsson saw its shares jump almost 10% after a better-than-expected third-quarter earnings report, while Dutch resourcing firm Randstad added over 6% after strong results.

Nestle beat third-quarter expectations and raised its 2020 organic sales growth target to 3%, but the consumer titan's shares edged slightly lower by the close.

Toward the bottom of the European blue chip index, London-listed shares of Centamin plunged more than 19% after the gold miner reported falls in production and sales for the third quarter.

- CNBC.com staff contributed reporting to this story.