European Stocks Close On Mixed Note

European stocks ended mixed on Wednesday with investors largely making cautious moves, reacting to news about the continued surge in coronavirus cases and fresh lockdown restrictions, as well as the latest batch of economic data from Europe and the U.S.

Investors closely followed the political developments in Germany, where parties have agreed to form a three-way coalition after a series of talks.

Also, investors awaited the minutes from the Federal Reserve's recent meeting due later in the day for more insight on price pressures and the economic recovery.

The pan European Stoxx 600 edged up 0.09%. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 climbed 0.27%, Germany's DAX drifted down 0.37% and France's CAC 40 eded down 0.03%. Switzerland's SMI advanced 0.23%.

Among other markets in Europe, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and Turkey closed higher.

Denmark, Finland, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, Poland, Russia and Spain ended weak.

In the UK market, Intertek Group shares climbed more than 6%. St. James Place, Segro, Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon, British Land Co., Schrodders, Vodafone Group, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Severn Trent, Rio Tinto, ABRDN and Land Securities Group gained 1 to 2%.

Shares of chemicals company Johnson Matthey shed more than 2%. The company has warned that exiting its electric battery business will cost shareholders £314 million.

Aveva Group, Entain, Fresnillo and Flutter Entertainment shed 2 to 4%.

In France, Dassault Systemes ended nearly 4% down. Faurecia shed 2.7%, while WorldLine, Schneider Electric, ArcelorMittal, Renault, Valeo, Sanofi, Carrefour and Capgemini declined 1 to 2%.

Vivendi, Teleperformance, Technip, Vinci, Veolia and Airbus gained 1 to 1.8%.

In the German market, Volkswagen, Daimler, BMW, Bayer, Covestro and Puma shed 2 to 3%. Continental, Porsche Automobil, Siemens Healthineers, BASF, Henkel, Adidas and Fresenius also ended notably lower.

Drägerwerk AG & Co. KGaA slumped more than 14% after saying it expects a decline in net sales and earnings for the coming fiscal year.

Vonovia gained more than 6%. Deutsche Wohen gained about 3%, while MTU Aero Engines, Deutsche Bank, Munich RE, E.ON. and Zalando gained 1 to 2%.

Telecom Italia soared nearly 16% after reports that U.S. private equity giant KKR is considering boosting its offer for the company.

In economic news, Germany's ifo business-climate index fell to 96.5 in November from 97.7 in October - marking the fifth consecutive decrease of the indicator after it peaked at 101.8 in June.

France's business confidence improved in November, defying expectations for a weakening, preliminary data from the statistical office INSEE showed. The composite business confidence indicator rose to 109 from 107 logged in each of the previous two months. Economists had expected the reading to ease to 106.

UK manufacturers reported the strongest growth in orders since records began in 1977 and they expect production to accelerate over the next three months, the Industrial Trends Survey data from the Confederation of British Industry showed on Thursday.

The order book balance rose to 26% in November from 9% in October. This was the highest score since April 1977.

The export order book balance came in at +3% versus -7% in the previous month. Order books strengthened at the fastest pace since March 2019.

In U.S. economic news, a report from the Labor Department showed first-time claims for unemployment benefits slid to their lowest level in over fifty years in the week ended November 20th.

The Labor Department said initial jobless claims tumbled to 199,000, a decrease of 71,000 from the previous week's revised level of 270,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 260,000 from the 268,000 originally reported for the previous week.

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