European Shares Little Changed Amid Covid Worries

European stocks were flat to slightly lower on Monday as investors fretted about the economic impact of the increasing cases of Covid-19 infections around the world.

Concerns about Chinese cities entering lockdown due to coronavirus outbreaks offset signs that the world’s second-largest economy has picked up speed in the fourth quarter.

The pan European Stoxx 600 was little changed with a negative bias at 407.68 after falling 1 percent on Friday. The German DAX was marginally higher while France’s CAC 40 index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 dropped around 0.2 percent each.

Dutch design, engineering and consultancy company Arcadis NV declined half a percent after it announced a global partnership with Irys, a Texas, USA-based Techstars start-up.

Akzo Nobel N.V. lost 3 percent after it made a non-binding proposal to acquire Tikkurila for 31.25 euros per share resulting in a total equity value of around 1.4 billion euros.

Falling oil prices weighed on the energy sector, with BP Plc losing 2.2 percent and Royal Dutch Shell declining 1.6 percent.

British Airways-owner IAG fell over 2 percent and easyJet tumbled 3 percent as investors react to tighter travel restrictions. The United Kingdom will be closing all travel corridors from today in order to “protect against the risk of as yet unidentified new strains.”

Centrica declined 2.2 percent. The utility said Johnathan Ford will step down as Group Chief Financial Officer and from the Board due to personal reasons.

Euronext N.V. shares rose 1.2 percent. The stock exchange announced the appointment of Delphine d’Amarzit as CEO of Euronext Paris and member of the Managing Board of Euronext N.V.

Retailer Carrefour slumped 5.7 percent after ending talks with Alimentation Couche-Tard over a potential takeover.

Carmaker Stellantis rose nearly 3 percent in its first day of trading in the Paris stock market, following completion of the merger of Peugeot S.A. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

Fraport fell 2.3 percent. The company reported that Frankfurt Airport welcomed some 18.8 million passengers in 2020, a decline of 73.4 percent from prior year.

Aircraft movements at Frankfurt Airport were down by 58.7 percent year-on-year to 212,235 takeoffs and landings in 2020.

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