Earnings nudge European stocks higher, virus concerns limit gains

FILE PHOTO: The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, October 22, 2020. REUTERS/Staff/File Photo

(Reuters) – European stocks inched higher on Friday, boosted by positive earnings updates from Barclays and carmakers, while nagging concerns about the economic impact of surging COVID-19 cases put markets on course for weekly losses.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index .STOXX rose 0.2% by 0711 GMT, with Asian markets stuck in a trading range as investors treaded with caution with less than two weeks to go before the U.S. presidential election.

London’s FTSE 100 .FTSE was supported by a 2.8% jump in Barclays BARC.L after it reported much better than expected quarterly earnings.

Carmaker Daimler DAIGn.DE rose 1.9% after it raised its 2020 profit outlook, while Renault RENA.PA was up 1.5% after saying it should have positive cash flow from cars by the end of 2020 as sales recovered.

However, gains were limited as France looked set to widen a curfew to more than two thirds of its population after the country set an all-time daily high of new coronavirus cases on Thursday.

IHS Markit’s early reading of euro zone and UK business activity for October is due later in the day.

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