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European stocks slide on worries over virus restrictions

·3-min read
A car has been set on fire in front of the train station, on January 24, 2021 in Eindhoven, after a rally by several hundreds of people against coronavirus restrictions

European stock markets tumbled Monday amid worries about fresh lockdown to contain the coronavirus pandemic while Holland endured another night of unrest over new curfews imposed over the weekend.

US stocks finished mostly higher, with the Nasdaq surging to a fourth straight all-time high ahead of earnings reports later in the week from Apple, Facebook and other tech giants.

Wall Street's tech sector has been outperforming other industrial groups in recent sessions after a period where equities linked to the Covid-19 economic recovery led the market.

But bourses in Europe had a rough session as governments confront a new strain of the virus that has battered Britain.

"Renewed lockdowns and restrictive measures globally are dragging down the European bourses," commented Edward Moya, a market analyst at Oanda.

In the Netherlands, riot police clashed with groups of protesters in Amsterdam as well as the port city of Rotterdam, Amersfoort in the east, and the small southern city of Geleen near Maastricht after protesters again went on the rampage in several cities following the introduction of a coronavirus curfew over the weekend.

Europe also is dealing with the latest blow to its vaccination campaign, after British-Swedish drug company AstraZeneca warned it will not be able to meet its promised targets on EU shipments -- a week after US group Pfizer said it was also cutting delivery volumes.

In other Covid-19 vaccine developments, Merck pulled the plug on two vaccine candidates following disappointing clinical results, although it said would still pursue therapeutics to treat the deadly virus.

There was some good news as Moderna said lab studies showed its vaccine would remain protective against coronavirus variants first identified in the United Kingdom and South Africa.

In the US, this week's calendar also includes the Federal Reserve's first monetary policy announcement of the year, while quarterly results are expected from Boeing and Chevron, among other companies.

Markets also are watching developments in Washington, where centrist lawmakers have responded skeptically to Biden's proposed $1.9 trillion economic relief package.

Biden on Tuesday signed an executive order giving American companies and products priority in contracting with the federal government, as the new administration attempts to spur domestic manufacturing.

- Key figures around 2150 GMT -

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.1 percent at 30,960.00 (close)

New York - S&P 500: UP 0.4 percent at 3,855.36 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: UP 0.7 percent at 13,635.99 (close)

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.8 percent at 6,638.85 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 1.7 percent at 13,643.95 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 1.6 percent at 5,472.36 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 1.4 percent at 3,553.14 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.7 percent at 28,822.29 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 2.4 percent at 30,159.01 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.5 percent at 3,624.24 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.2141 from $1.2171 at 2200 GMT on Friday

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 103.77 yen from 103.78 yen

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3675 from $1.3686

Euro/pound: DOWN at 88.79 pence from 88.93 pence

West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.0 percent at $52.77 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.9 percent at $55.88 per barrel