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European stocks struggle at the end of the week

By Barbara Kollmeyer

Adidas climbs and airlines dip

European equities struggled for traction on Friday, as investors kept an eye on COVID-19 and economic recoveries, while Adidas was a standout gainer.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index was flat at 456.84, but up 1% for the week to date so far. The German DAX slipped 0.2%, the French CAC 40 fell 0.4% and the FTSE 100 gained 0.3%. The euro rose, while the pound was flat.

U.S. stocks opened higher following Thursday's sharp gains (link) on Wall Street after Biden said he had reached a deal with a bipartisan group of lawmakers on an infrastructure plan.

Markets cheered the prospect of the deal contributing momentum to the reopening of the U.S. economy, with some investors pencilling in more spending beyond what was outlined on Thursday.

Read:Infrastructure and the stock market -- here's what the $1 trillion deal means (link)

"This, however, does not mean that it is a done deal, as the deal still needs more than 60 votes in the Senate and needs to be approved in the House, which is probably not going to be easy," cautioned Mikael Olai Milhøj, chief analyst at Dankse Bank, in a note to clients.

In Europe, data showed German consumer sentiment is forecast to rise in July (link) as the Covid-19 pandemic retreats and the economy reopens, according to data from the market-research group GfK released Friday.

A top gainer on the Stoxx 600 was adidas , with shares up close to 6% after U.S. rival sportswear maker Nike (NKE)topped Wall Street revenue estimates (link) by more than $1 billion in its fiscal fourth-quarter, in contrast to deep losses a year ago. Elsewhere, shares of JD Sports Fashion climbed more than 3.5%.

Most airlines and travel stocks slipped even after the U.K. government added (link) Malta, Madeira, Spain's Balearics and some Caribbean nations to the so-called "green list" of places that won't require travelers to quarantine upon returning home, as long as they test negative before returning and once they arrive. There was some disappointment that tourist hotspots such as Greece and mainland Spain were left off the list.

Ministers also said they may drop quarantine rules for fully vaccinated travelers returning home from countries on an amber list, with details to be announced next month.

But some European leaders reportedly said they planned to follow the advice (link) of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and tighten up borders to keep out the highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19 that has spread across the U.K.

Shares of InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG.LN), travel group TUI , cruise company Carnival and International Consolidated Airlines all dropped around 2% each. Shares of cut-rate airline easyJet fell 1.5%.

Shares of pharmaceutical were also weighing on the downside, with shares of Novartis (NOVN.EB), AstraZeneca (AZN.LN) and Novo Nordisk (NOVO-B.KO) all lower.

   Auto makers were also under pressure, with Renault   down 2% and Daimler  off more than 1%. 

-Barbara Kollmeyer; 415-439-6400;


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

06-25-21 1015ET

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