European stocks struggled for momentum in early deals on Friday, with a resurgence in coronavirus cases across the continent raising concerns about its impact on a nascent economic recovery.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index slipped 0.1% by 0708 GMT, with travel & leisure stocks leading the losses with a 1% decline. Market sentiment remained shaky as France registered a record 10,593 new confirmed coronavirus on Thursday, the highest single-day count since the pandemic began, while the United Kingdom also saw a surge in cases.
A spree of dealmaking drove activity in individual stocks. Spain’s state-owned Bankia slipped 2% after Caixabank valued it at 4.3 billion euros ($5.10 billion) as part of a deal that will create Spain’s biggest domestic bank. Euronext jumped 3.4% after London Stock Exchange said it had entered into exclusive talks to sell Borsa Italian to the French exchange operator. Germany’s Covestro gained 5.8% after Bloomberg reported private equity firm Apollo Global Management APO.N was exploring a takeover of the plastics maker.