European stocks and U.S. equity futures inched up on Wednesday, as investor worries simmered over rising coronavirus cases worldwide and the effect on economies in coming months.
The Stoxx Europe 600 SXXP, +0.24% rose 0.2% to 389.87, after snapping a two-day winning steak on Tuesday. The German DAX DAX, +0.32% and French CAC 40 PX1, +0.29% rose 0.3% each, while the FTSE 100 UKX, -0.09% was flat.
European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said on Tuesday that encouraging vaccine news wouldn’t fundamentally change the central bank’s plan to add stimulus.
“I don’t want to downplay the very good news that the vaccines were, but I think that as a central bank, we have to be mindful of not just the short term and the news impact, we have to be mindful of the overall situation,” Lagarde told the Bloomberg New Economy Forum.
One risk, she noted, was if “consumers, investors and employers do not regard the pandemic as a one-off, this V-shape that we all aspired to, but as something that will recur over the course of time and as a result would lead them to completely change their behavior.”
Data showed the strain of rising restrictions. The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association reported a 7.8% drop in October sales, after a small gain in September.
U.K. data showed a rise in annual consumer-price inflation for October, a gain that was boosted by higher clothing prices.
Among companies on the move, shares of RSA Insurance RSA, +3.86% rose nearly 4% after the insurer said it has agreed to a £7.2 billion ($9.5 billion) takeover offer from Intact Financial IFC, +0.35% and Tryg TRYG, -1.99%. RSA confirmed details of that offer more than two weeks ago.
Shares of Cie. Financière Richemont CFR, -1.29% fell over 2% on Wednesday, after the luxury-goods maker said it had received shareholder approval for a conditional capital increase. The company plans to issue up to 22 million new A shares.
Air France-KLM shares fell over 3%, after French newspaper Le Monde reported on Tuesday that the struggling airline is in talks to raise another €6 billion from two government stakeholders and investors.
Croda International CRDA, +2.72% said that it will buy Fragrance Spanish Topco — which operates as Iberchem — for €820 million ($972.7 million). The chemicals company said it would fund the transaction via existing debt facilities and an equity placing. Shares rose 1.8%.
A.P. Moeller-Maersk MAERSK.B, -1.12% announced a 10 billion Danish kroner ($1.59 billion) share-buyback program after the Danish shipping giant reporting an earnings rebound on surging demand. The company also raised guidance for a third time. Shares slipped 1%.