Markets

European markets close lower with U.S. election, coronavirus in focus

Key Points
  • The eyes of the world remain on the counting of ballots in U.S. election, with Democratic candidate Joe Biden closing President Donald Trump's leads in key swing states of Georgia and Pennsylvania.

LONDON — European markets closed lower Friday as investors awaited the outcome of the U.S. election and reacted to rising coronavirus cases and new restrictions across the continent.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended the session down by 0.2%. Autos fell 1.7% to lead losses while basic resources bucked the downward trend to add 1.9%.

The eyes of the world remain on the counting of ballots in U.S. election, with Democratic candidate Joe Biden closing President Donald Trump's leads in key swing states of Georgia and Pennsylvania.

Based on NBC News' tally, Democratic nominee Joe Biden has racked up 253 electoral votes, leaving him 17 shy of the 270 needed to win the White House. Votes are also still being counted in Nevada and Arizona, where Biden holds narrow leads.

On Wall Street, stocks dipped as traders looked for clarity around the election results but were still on track for their best week in months after better-than-expected U.S. unemployment data.

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 6.9% in October from 7.9%, according to data released by the Labor Department, better than the 7.7% expected by economists. The U.S. economy also added 638,000 jobs last month, topping an estimate of 530,000.

Markets remain attuned to the spread of Covid-19 in Europe, with Italy recording its highest daily death toll since April on Thursday and Italian regions entering partial lockdowns under the government's new tiered system. Greece has also announced a national lockdown.

On the data front, Germany's industrial output rose by less than expected in September as a resurgence of the coronavirus began to weigh on a recovery in activity. Output grew by 1.6%, below a Reuters forecast of 2.7%.

Corporate earnings Friday came from Austrian chipmaker AMS and German insurer Allianz, with shares of both companies ending the session slightly higher.

At the top of the Stoxx 600, Richemont shares climbed almost 8% after the Swiss luxury goods company reported a strong set of earnings.

At the other end of the European blue chip index, Italy's Leonardo dropped more than 7% after initially failing to trade at Friday's open. Meanwhile, U.K. software firm Aveva Group fell nearly 3% after announcing plans to raise £2.84 billion ($3.74 billion) through a rights issue to partly fund its acquisition of U.S. peer OSIsoft.