European markets retreat slightly as Covid-19 concerns weigh; Telecom Italia up 27%

  • European investors are keeping an eye on the spread of Covid-19 across the continent after Germany and Austria re-imposed strict containment measures last week.
  • Another big market-moving event this week will be President Joe Biden's nomination for the next Federal Reserve chief.
  • Telecom Italia shares surged more than 27% on Monday after the company received a 10.8 billion euro ($12 billion) buyout proposal from U.S. fund KKR.

LONDON — European stocks pulled back slightly on Monday, as investors monitored Covid-19 restriction measures on the continent along with various corporate announcements.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 slipped 0.2% by mid-afternoon, with telecoms climbing 1.3% while travel and leisure stocks fell 1.3%.

U.S. stock futures pared earlier gains but were still up marginally in premarket trading on Monday ahead of the holiday-shortened week stateside. U.S. markets will be closed on Thursday on Thanksgiving Day and the stock market closes early at 1 p.m. ET on Friday.

Stocks have a track record of posting gains in Thanksgiving week, which will potentially set the stage for a year-end Santa rally.

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European investors will be keeping an eye on the spread of Covid-19 across the continent after Germany and Austria re-imposed strict containment measures last week.

Another big market-moving event this week will be President Joe Biden's nomination for the next Federal Reserve chief.

Biden is expected to announce his pick in the coming days, with current chairman Jerome Powell and Governor Lael Brainard considered the most likely candidates. Many expect a more dovish central bank if Brainard prevails, meaning it would take longer to tighten policies including raising interest rates.

Meanwhile, shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Monday trade as China kept its benchmark lending rate unchanged.

The big corporate news on Monday came from Italy, where Telecom Italia shares surged more than 27% in early trade after the company received a 10.8 billion euro ($12 billion) buyout proposal from U.S. fund KKR.

At the bottom of the European blue chip index, TeamViewer shares fell more than 7%.

Swiss private bank Julius Baer shed 4.6% after its trading update, while Swedish telecoms company Ericsson fell 3.8% after announcing a deal to buy cloud communications firm Vonage for $6.2 billion.

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– CNBC's Yun Li contributed to this market report.

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