European markets close lower; tech sector down 7.4% as SAP shares tank


LONDON — European markets plunged Monday as surging coronavirus cases throughout the continent weighed on sentiment, while SAP led a sharp decline for tech stocks.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed down by 1.8% provisionally, with the technology sector plunging 7.4% after Germany’s SAP abandoned its medium-term profitability targets and warned that its business would take longer than expected to recover from the damage of the coronavirus pandemic. The company’s stock plunged nearly 22%.

The resurgence of the coronavirus in Europe has continued apace in recent days, with France reporting a record daily rise in new infections on Sunday, Italy ordering bars to close early and shutting public gyms and Spain issuing a nationwide curfew to stem a worsening outbreak.

The U.S. also reported a record number of daily Covid-19 infections on Friday with more than 83,000, surpassing its mid-July peaks despite President Donald Trump’s insistence that the country is “rounding the turn” on the virus.

On Wall Street, stocks fell sharply as coronavirus infections jumped and negotiations for a fiscal stimulus package before the election came down to the wire.

Meanwhile, hopes of a new coronavirus aid bill being signed in Washington ahead of the Nov. 3 election are diminishing. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN over the weekend that a deal is still possible this week and that she had sent Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin a list of concerns over the weekend and was hoping for an answer on Monday.

On the data front, the October business climate index Germany’s Ifo Institute slipped lower on Monday for the first time in six months, indicating that the recovery for Europe’s largest economy could be losing momentum.

In other news, British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca said its potential Covid-19 vaccine produced a similar immune response in older and younger adults. The news did little to offset concerns over rising cases, though AstraZeneca was one of the top gainers Monday with shares rising nearly 2%.

– staff contributed to this report.

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