MILAN/BERLIN: European shares ended lower on Monday as surging Covid-19 cases raised the possibility of further economic restrictions, outweighing optimism from signs of progress on a Brexit trade deal and hopes of fiscal stimulus in the United States.
Tech major SAP weighed on Germany's DAX, while France CAC 40 turned to losses at close. Exchange operator Euronext resumed trading after it fixed a technical glitch that froze all transactions in Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels and Lisbon for more than three hours.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index closed down 0.3% after trading flat in the second half. Hopes of a Covid-19 vaccine by year-end, and signs an agreement in Washington on a fiscal package could be reached soon, had buoyed sentiment in morning trade.
At the top of STOXX 600 was Swiss wealth manager Julius Baer which jumped 6% after it indicated an improvement in profitability for the first nine months of 2020. The broader financial services sector rose 1%, with Credit Suisse and UBS rising 4.4% and 3%, respectively.
European third-quarter earnings are forecast to recover from a pandemic-led slump, with analysts expecting companies on the STOXX 600 to report an average 36.7% drop, compared with a 51% drop in the previous quarter, according to Refinitiv data. Nokia posted its best session in over two months after it was selected by NASA to build the first cellular network on the moon.
Swedish defence company Saab sank 14.3% after it reported a fall in third-quarter profit and could not confirm its previous financial outlook for the year.