European stocks touched a two-week low on Wednesday, as fresh lockdowns dented sentiment ahead of PMI data. Besides, a row over the supply of COVID-19 vaccines also reduced sentiment.
Markets will focus on the IHS Markit’s March business surveys for the eurozone and the United Kingdom.
EU officials said COVID-19 vaccine export curbs would extend to Britain. The European Union is also extending them to other areas with much higher vaccination rates. That is to cover instances of companies backloading contracted supplies, the officials added.
By 0810 GMT, the pan-regional STOXX 600 index fell 0.6%. This followed after the prospect of US tax hikes to pay for the large stimulus package spooked the stock market overnight.
Chipmakers were the top gainers on STOXX 600. These included ASM International, ASML, and BE Semiconductor, up between 3% and 5.3%. Before this, Intel Corp announced a $20 billion plan to expand its advanced chip manufacturing capacity.
Banks, retailers, and travel stocks fell the most.
AU Stocks Higher at Close of Trade
On Wednesday, gains in the Healthcare, Consumer Staples, and Consumer Discretionary sectors led to shares higher. On that day, Australian stocks were higher after the close.
The S&P/ASX 200 climbed 0.50% at the close in Sydney.
The session’s best performers on the S&P/ASX 200 were Graincorp Ltd. They gained 6.16% or 0.29 points to trade at 5.00 at the close.
Moreover, Rea Group Ltd rose 4.89% or 6.56 points to end at 140.61. Whitehaven Coal Ltd added 4.32% or 0.075 points to 1.810 in late trade.
The session’s worst performers were Lynas Rare Earths Ltd. They lost 9.05% or 0.560 points to trade at 5.630 at the close.
Furthermore, Virgin Money PLC dipped 4.93% or 0.17 points to end at 3.28. Webjet Ltd dropped 4.55% or 0.27 points to 5.67.
On the Sydney Stock Exchange, the number of falling stocks exceeded that of advancing ones by 786 to 524, and 378 ended unchanged.
Graincorp Ltd shares rose to 52-week highs, gaining 6.16% or 0.29 to 5.00.
The S&P/ASX 200 VIX was down 0.79% to 13.120.
Elsewhere, on Wednesday, Japan stocks ended lower. Losses in the Paper & Pulp, Railway & Bus, and Real Estate sectors led to shares lower.
The Nikkei 225 declined 2.04% to hit a new 1-month low at the close in Tokyo.