European Stocks Mixed – Investors Digest U.S. Presidential Debate

European stock markets are seen trading mixed at the open Friday, with investors digesting fresh curfew measures in Europe, the final U.S. presidential debate before the November election as well as the ongoing stimulus negotiations.

The DAX futures contract in Germany traded 0.3% lower, CAC 40 futures in France climbed 0.1% and the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. rose 0.2%.

The final debate between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Democrat challenger Joe Biden took place late Thursday, an event that many saw as Trump’s last chance to substantially eat into Biden’s poll lead ahead of the Nov. 3 poll.

“It was a slightly more civilized debate this time around, but Trump failed to make up for lost ground from the first debate,” OCBC Wealth Management senior strategist Vasu Menon told Reuters.

Also helping investors’ confidence Friday was the news of the first approved Covid-19 treatment, after Gilead Sciences received U.S. FDA approval on Thursday for its antiviral therapy to treat the virus.

However, reported coronavirus cases in Europe have more than doubled in 10 days, crossing 200,000 daily infections for the first time on Thursday, according to a Reuters tally.

In corporate news, Daimler could be in the spotlight after the German car maker said third-quarter net profit rose while revenue declined, noting strong demand for luxury cars in China helped turn around margins at its Mercedes-Benz cars division. The company had already announced preliminary results last week.

Renault also posted a drop of revenue in the third quarter of 2020, but the drop of 8.2% was better than expected, helped by a jump in sales of the Zoe, its popular electric car model.

In the U.K., Barclays posted a 38% rise in revenue in dollar terms in the third quarter, helped by another strong performance from its investment bank and markets division.

The European data slate includes key PMI data for the region, while U.K. retail sales impressed, climbing 1.5% on the month in September, above the 0.4% gain predicted.

Oil prices slipped slightly Friday, consolidating the previous session’s strong gains after Russian President Vladimir Putin chose not to rule out extending record supply cuts in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, faces a decision on whether to change its output policy at a meeting scheduled to start in late for November amid pressure on fuel demand caused by fresh coronavirus restrictions.

U.S. crude futures traded 0.6% lower at $40.41 a barrel, while the international benchmark Brent contract fell 0.5% to $42.25. Both contracts posted gains of over 1.5% on Wednesday, but are still currently heading for their first weekly loss in three.

Elsewhere, gold futures rose 0.1% to $1,906.65/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.2% lower at 1.1796.

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