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Europe midday: Shares flat as travel stocks fall out of favour

Fri 12 February 2021 11:23 | A A A

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7004.63 | Positive 56.64 (0.82%)
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(Sharecast News) - European stocks were flat at lunchtime on Friday as travel stocks fell on fears of a summer bookings slump and investors continued to hold out for progress on US stimulus measures.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index slipped 0.02%, with major regional bourses mixed. The UK's FTSE 100 shrugged off official data revealing the Covid-ravaged economy slumped 9.9% in 2020 - its worst contraction since 1709, to edge into positive territory after a fall in early trade.

Fourth quarter GDP rose by more than 1%, helping the economy to avoid a double dip recession for the time being.

"It has been a fairly uneventful week for European equity markets, with US markets continuing to grab the headlines with another series of record highs, and though the DAX also managed to eke out a new record at the beginning of the week, there has been little in the way of momentum behind any of this week's moves," said CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.

Travel and leisure stocks were out of favour as people looked set to delay any overseas holidays this summer due to the coronavirus pandemic with mixed and muddled messages coming from the UK government in particular. Shares in British Airways owner IAG, easyJet, Carnival and TUI were all lower.

Carnival Cruise Lines suffered a double whammy after being downgraded to a 'sell' by Berenberg, along with Norwegian Cruise Lines, as the brokerage said it was "negatively disposed" toward leisure stocks in the aftermath of the pandemic.

ING Groep jumped 5.52% after the Dutch bank reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter pre-tax earnings of €1.05bn.

Shares in French lottery operator Les Francaise des Jeux rose 2.97%, having been more than 6% higher earlier, after the company said strong business in the second half helped limit the decline in annual stakes - down 7% to €16bn and revenue 6% lower at €1.9bn.

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