Europe Markets: European stocks rise, but gains tempered by U.S. coronavirus concerns

Europe Markets: European stocks rise, but gains tempered by U.S. coronavirus concerns

European stocks rose on Friday, but gains were tempered by a record rise in coronavirus cases in the U.S.. Gains for German business software group SAP SE boosted the index, while Swedish retailer Hennes & Mauritz AB tugged in the other direction after reporting weak sales.


The Stoxx Europe 600 index SXXP, +0.67% rose 0.4% to 361.13, after a gain of 0.7% on Thursday. The index is looking at a nearly 1% loss in the week so far. Elsewhere, the German DAX 30 DAX, +0.62% rose 0.2%, the French CAC 40 PX1, +0.94% rose 0.5% and the FTSE 100 index UKX, +1.10% gained 0.78%.



Europe was pushing higher as U.S. stock futures fell, with those for the Dow Jones Industrial Average YM00, -0.59% down over 200 points. Wall Street stocks finished higher in a late rally on Thursday.


Banks could weigh on that index, with JP Morgan Chase & Co. JPM, +3.48% down in premarket trading. After the close of U.S. markets on Thursday, the Federal Reserve’s latest stress tests found that most will remain well-capitalized even under the harshest Covid-19 scenarios. But buyback have been suspended through the third quarter and dividend payments will be capped to preserve capital.

U.S. coronavirus cases neared an all-time high on Thursday, and states such as Texas were forced to dial back reopenings, with that state and other setting single-day case records this week.


However, the Texas governor’s “recent action of halting the further reopen efforts” is viewed as a “step in the right direction to stamp out the current spike in Covid-19,” said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at AvaTrade, in a note to clients.


Elsewhere, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said the worst of the coronavirus crisis may be over for the world, but the road ahead would not be easy. “That recovery is going to be incomplete and might be transformational,” she said, during the online Northern Light Summit on Friday, according to CNBC.


Shares of H&M SE HM.B, -2.96% fell 1.7% after the Swedish retailer said second-quarter sales fell 50% and it swung to a loss of SEK3.02 per share, as the pandemic forced it to close 80% of stores during the worst of the lockdown. But the retailer said online sales in local currencies rose 32%, and that total sales “have gradually begun to recover” at stores that had reopened.


Shares of U.K. grocer Tesco PLC TSCO, +0.61% rose 1% after reporting a nearly 8% rise in like-for-like sales growth in the first quarter.


Shares of heavily-weighted SAP SE SAP, +1.33% SAP, +1.21% rose 1.6%.


Wirecard AG WDI, -41.32% slumped another 41%, a day after the payments system provider said it was filing for insolvency amid an accounting scandal. Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc. may revoke the German company’s ability to process payments, Bloomberg reported Friday, citing sources. Those companies commented to Bloomberg that they are closely monitoring developments with Wirecard.