By Peter Nurse
Investing.com – European stock markets traded largely unchanged Monday, searching for direction as a positive earnings season winds down and concerns about rising Covid-19 cases climb.
The major equity indices in Europe have approached record levels in recent weeks, guided higher by healthy corporate earnings reports and by signs from the European Central Bank that it will keep its monetary policy accommodative for some time to come.
That said, worries over the coronavirus are rearing their ugly head again, with Austria announcing on Sunday that it is placing millions of people not fully vaccinated against the coronavirus in lockdown as of Monday.
The Netherlands also announced a partial lockdown last week, while the German federal government and leaders of the country’s 16 states are due to meet next week to discuss tightening measures.
In corporate news, Shell (LON:RDSa) stock rose 1.7% after the energy giant announced plans to do away with its dual share system to simplify its structure and boost shareholder payouts.
Heineken (OTC:HEINY) stock rose 1% after the world’s second largest brewer announced it will buy South African drinks maker Distell Group for around $2.6 billion.
Airbus (PA:AIR) stock rose 2.6% after the European aircraft manufacturer signed deals on Sunday to supply 255 single-aisle A321neo passenger jets to a number of airlines including Wizz Air (LON:WIZZ), amid rising hopes of a quick snap back in tourism.
European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde will appear before the European Parliament later on Monday.
Helping the tone Monday was the news that China’s industrial output and retail sales grew more quickly than expected in October, despite fresh curbs to control Covid-19 outbreaks in the world’s second-largest economy.
Crude prices fell Monday, weighed by the possibility of additional U.S. supply as well as the continued strength of the U.S. dollar.
Speculation that the Biden administration will authorize the release of oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve to cool prices has been rife since the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies decided to stick to its plan of a gradual output increase at its last meeting earlier this month.
Additionally, the U.S. oil and gas rig count, an early indicator of future output, rose by six to 556 in the week to Nov. 12, its highest level since April 2020, according to energy services firm Baker Hughes.
European Stocks Largely Unchanged; Shell Gains on Restructuring Plan
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