LONDON – European markets closed lower on Thursday, the last day of trading in a year dominated by the coronavirus pandemic and extraordinary stimulus measures that have tried to soften the economic blow from the health crisis.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index closed 0.14% lower on New Years Eve after a shorter trading session. London’s FTSE index closed down 1.45% on the last day the UK is a de facto member of the EU’s single market and customs union before Brexit is fully implemented.
British banks, retailers and homebuilders were among the lower stocks on Thursday, sentiment likely affected both by Brexit uncertainty and by new restrictions on public life announced by the UK government on Wednesday due to the rate of coronavirus infection.
Year-to-date, the Stoxx 600 index closed 3.8% lower, but rose nearly 11% for the quarter. As for individual indices, the FTSE has fallen more than 14% since the start of the year, marking its worst year since 2008.
At the same time, the French CAC 40 fell by 7%, the German DAX by 3.5% and the Italian FTSE MIB by 5.4%. The worst performing market in the region was the Spanish IBEX, which has fallen almost 15% this year.
China Factory Outlet Data
Almost every European market ended 2020 on a dismal note, after lackluster year-end trading in Asia and largely flat US equity futures early Thursday morning. European markets closed early Thursday at 1 p.m. London time.