Por Sagarika Jaisinghani
Oct 15 (Reuters) – European stocks slumped on Thursday as COVID-19 cases resurfaced on the continent and hopes for more fiscal stimulus in the United States faded ahead of the presidential election, slowing demand for shares in the world.
* The pan-European STOXX 600 Index fell 2.1% on its worst day in more than three weeks. Auto, insurance and energy stocks were down more than 2%.
* Bank stocks followed the decline in bond yields, ignoring signs of a pick-up in M&A activity after a report said Bank BPM of Italy and Credit Agricole of France had signed a deal confidentiality as a first step towards a possible merger.
* “Investors are baffled by what is happening with COVID-19 and how that is negatively impacting jobs and the ability of many companies to succeed,” said Russ Mold, chief investment officer at AJ Bell.
* “It is becoming increasingly clear that the pandemic could still be ongoing until 2021 and therefore the economic outlook has become even more bleak.”
* Stock markets in France, Italy, Spain and Germany fell between 1.4% and 2.8%.
* The UK’s FTSE 100 fell 1.7% after the government imposed tighter restrictions in London, as investors looked for signs of progress towards a Brexit trade deal at the two-day European Union summit that began Thursday.
(Report by Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bengaluru; Edited in Spanish by Javier López de Lérida)