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European stocks mixed amid inflation concerns, Covid cases

European stocks

The Stoxx 600 hovered fractionally below the flatline, with telecoms jumping 0.8% while travel and leisure stocks fell 1.2%

European stocks were mixed on Monday morning as global investors weighed concerns over a rise in inflation and a rise in coronavirus cases, largely attributed to the spread of a variant that emerged in India.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 hovered fractionally below the flatline by mid-morning, with telecoms jumping 0.8% while travel and leisure stocks fell 1.2%.

European markets are following lacklustre sentiment elsewhere. U.S. stock futures dropped slightly in early premarket trade on Monday following last week’s sell-off triggered by inflation jitters. Asia-Pacific markets were mixed as investors monitored Chinese economic data and Covid cases in countries such as Taiwan.

Data last week showed the Consumer Price Index climbed 4.2% from a year earlier in April, the fastest rate since 2008, which intensified concerns that the Federal Reserve could be forced to start tapering its easy monetary policy if higher price pressures are sustained.

The pandemic remains a key concern for investors as economies reopen. The U.K. is easing lockdown further on Monday with pubs and restaurants set to reopen to customers for in-dining. Museums and cinemas are also allowed to reopen.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called for a cautious approach to the unlocking, however, after he warned the spread of the Indian variant could threaten further easing on June 21. On Sunday, Britain reported just over 1,900 new Covid cases, while the number of people having received the second vaccine dose passed 20 million.

On the earnings front, Ryanair said it had seen a “strong snap back” in bookings in recent weeks, but reported a full-year net loss of 815 million euros ($989 million) on Monday as Covid-19 restrictions pushed its traffic levels down 81%.

British technical products company Diploma jumped 7.6% by mid-morning to lead the Stoxx 600, after reporting a rise in fiscal first-half profit and projecting full-year earnings ahead of expectations.

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