European shares slip on caution around vaccine trials, stimulus

FILE PHOTO: The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, September 21, 2020. REUTERS/Staff

(Reuters) – European shares headed lower on Wednesday after tumbling in the previous session over a halt in COVID-19 vaccine trials and uncertainty over more U.S. stimulus, with investors also staying away from big bets ahead of talks on a Brexit trade deal.

The pan-European STOXX 600 .STOXX was down 0.2% by 0708 GMT, with travel and leisure .SXTP and insurance .SXIP stocks leading early declines.

Although trading in most country indexes was muted, a weaker pound lifted London’s FTSE 100 .FTSE by 0.2% ahead of a UK-imposed Oct. 15 deadline on Brexit negotiations. Growing political friction about the impact of new local COVID-19 restrictions has also hit sentiment.

The European Union would prefer to have a deal, but it is ready in case no agreement can be reached, the Commissioner for the EU’s single market said.

The Italian bourse .FTMIB was flat as Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte imposed new restrictions on gatherings, restaurants, sports and school activities.

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