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European Stocks Close Mostly Lower Amid Floods, Rising COVID-19 Cases

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Last updated: 07/16/2021 12:40:10

12:40 PM EDT, 07/16/2021 (MT Newswires) -- European stocks largely ended the week lower as Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands were affected by floods and as COVID-19 cases continued to rise in the UK.

The Swiss Market Index was up 0.4%, the Stoxx Europe 600 and the French were down 0.4%, the German Dax fell 0.6% and the FTSE 100 in the UK was flat with a negative bias.

UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak is looking to delay the annual budget to 2022 to evaluate the economic impact of ending support for businesses, The Guardian reported, citing government sources. Sunak is expected to inform MPs ahead of next week's parliamentary recess.

The euro area's trade surplus declined to 7.5 billion euros ($8.86 billion) in May 2021 from 10.9 billion euros in April 2021 and 8.9 billion euros in May 2020, Eurostat said. The estimate for euro area exports of goods to the rest of the world in May jumped 31.9% year over year to 188.2 billion euros.

The European Union council lifted COVID-19 travel restrictions on Ukraine, but implemented them for Rwanda and Thailand, effective the same day. The council added that travel curbs should also be gradually lifted for the special administrative regions of China, Hong Kong and Macao, as well as for Kosovo and Taiwan.

Meanwhile, the UK may place France on its red travel list over concerns about the spread of the beta variant in the country, first discovered in South Africa, The Telegraph reported. Ministers discussed the move in a Wednesday meeting based on an analysis of data conducted by the Joint Biosecurity Centre, according to insiders with knowledge of the discussions.

On the corporate front, The Barclay family, which owns The Daily Telegraph, mandated STJ Advisors to work on a 4 billion-pound-sterling ($5.5 billion) public listing of Very Group, the online retailer, Sky News reported, citing sources. Very Group is likely to make its stock market debut in 2022, according to the report.

Ericsson (ERIC-A.ST, ERIC-B.ST) was down over 9% after it said it now expects its 5G networks and digital services market share in China to be materially lower amid the weakened Swedish-Chinese bilateral relations triggered by a Huawei ban. Ericsson's net income attributable to owners of the parent company in the second quarter rose to 3.68 billion kronor ($425 million), or 1.10 kronor per share, from 2.45 billion kronor, or 0.74 kronor per share. The Swedish telecommunications group's net sales tumbled to 54.94 billion kronor from 55.58 billion kronor a year earlier, missing the market estimate of 57.2 billion kronor, Refinitiv data showed.

On the COVID-19 vaccine front, Pfizer (PFE.F) and BioNTech (22UA.F) said that the US Food and Drug Administration granted priority review of the biologics license application of their mRNA COVID-19 vaccine in patients aged 16 years and older. The Prescription Drug User Fee Act goal date is in January 2022.

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