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Major European Markets Close Lower On Virus Worries

The major European stocks closed lower on Wednesday, weighed down by concerns over continued rise in virus cases, fresh lockdown restrictions and uncertainty about availability of Covid-19 vaccine anytime soon.

The continued impasse on the U.S. fiscal stimulus front hurt as well.

Investors, looking ahead to the upcoming EU Summit for updates on Brexit, were also digesting corporate earnings reports and the latest batch of economic data.

The pan European Stoxx 600 edged down 0.09%. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 declined 0.58%, France's CAC 40 ended down 0.12% and Germany's DAX edged up 0.07%. Switzerland's SMI slid 0.42%.

The other stock markets in Europe ended mixed. Belgium, Denmark, Greece and Netherlands closed weak, while Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden and Turkey posted gains.

Travel-related stocks were under pressure as many countries tighten cross-border travel restrictions to regain control of resurgent coronavirus infections.

In the UK market, Standard Chartered declined 4.4%. AstraZeneca, HSBC Holdings, Compass Group, Vodafone Group, Associated British Foods, British American Tobacco, Ocado, Rolls-Royce Holdings and Hargreaves Lansdown lost 1.6 to 3.2%.

Among the gainers, Just Eat Takeaway.Com shares surged up nearly 6.5% after the food-delivery platform reported a surge in online orders in the third quarter.

Polymetal International, Smith Ds, Fresnillo, JD Sports Fashion, M&G and DCC gained 2 to 2.6%.

BunzL shares gained nearly 2% after the distribution and services group reported a rise in third-quarter revenue. Housebuilder Barratt Developments shares attracted buyers after its forward sales rose 19% at the start of fiscal 2021.

In the German market, Wirecard declined more than 3%. HeidelbergCement, Merck, Daimler, Munich RE, Fresenius and Bayer lost 1 to 1.7%.

On the other hand, Thyssenkrupp gained more than 3%, RWE, E.ON., Henkel, Infineon Technologies, Continental, Siemens and Deutsche Post moved up 1 to 1.4%, and Beiersdorf ended nearly 1% up.

In France, Airbus, WorldLine, Kering, Veolia, STMicroElectronics, Orange, LVMH and Accor ended notably lower. Technip moved up more than 4.5%. Renault gained about 3.5%, while Bouygues, ArcelorMittal and Valeo gained 2 to 2.25%.

In economic news, data showed Eurozone industrial production grew at a slower pace in August despite the easing of coronavirus containment measures in many member countries.

Industrial production grew only 0.7% month-on-month, following July's 5% increase, Eurostat said. Output was forecast to climb 0.8%.

On a yearly basis, industrial output logged a decline of 7.2% after falling 7.1% in July. The rate of decline came in line with economists' expectations.

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