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Europe Markets: European stocks set for fourth-straight losing session as investors look ahead to central banks

European stocks fell into a fifth-straight losing session on Tuesday, dragged down by technology stocks, while investors waited for several important central bank meetings this week.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index
SXXP,
-0.37%

fell 0.3% to 471.74, following a 0.4% drop on Monday, which marked four down consecutive sessions, the longest losing streak since Nov. 23. The German DAX
DAX,
-0.55%

dropped 0.5%, the French CAC 40
PX1,
-0.10%

was unchanged, while the FTSE 100 index
UKX,
+0.28%

rose 0.2%.

The euro
EURUSD,
-0.06%

and the pound
GBPUSD,
+0.14%

were both up 0.2% against the dollar, as the greenback weakened across the board. Investors are awaiting the start of a two-day Federal Reserve meeting, where the U.S. central bank is expected to announce an acceleration of the tapering of its bond purchases and lay out any plans for interest-rate increases.

That announcement will come Wednesday, while the Bank of England and European Central Bank will gather Thursday.

The ECB “is also likely to indicate the end of its massive stimulus, $2.09 trillion, by next March. However, due to rising COVID-19 cases, the ECB may postpone its timeline until the European economy stabilizes, which would likely push the euro down,” said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at AvaTrade, in a note to clients.

Fresh data in Europe showed a 1.1% monthly rise in October industrial production, in line with expectations, and a 3.3% annual rise. The U.K. saw a strong payrolls gain of 257,000 for October, which “keeps our view of a 15bp hike on Thursday alive,” said George Buckley, research analyst at Nomura, in a note to clients.

As for stocks on the move, the biggest gainer was Vifor Pharma
VIFN,
+12.83%
,
with shares climbing 14% after Australian firm CSL
CSL,
-0.35%

made an all-cash offer worth $11.7 billion for the Swiss speciality pharmaceutical group. Vifor’s board of directors recommended the offer.

Ocado
OCDO,
+8.99%

shares climbed 8% after the online grocer and retail-technology specialist said a U.S. International Trade Commission trial has found in favor of the company, with a ruling it hadn’t infringed on Norway-based Autostore Holdings
AUTO,
-13.37%

patents. The warehouse robot and technology company, whose shares fell 14%, said it would appeal.

A weak start for technology stocks on Wall Street fed into losses for Europe. The Nasdaq Composite
COMP,
-1.42%

was setting up for a second down day, with the S&P 500
SPX,
-0.92%

lower.

Tech stocks overall were tilting lower, in step with losses in the U.S. Shares of ASML Holding
ASML,
-2.03%
,
SAP
SAP,
-1.76%

SAP,
-1.39%
,
and Infineon Technologies
IFX,
-2.01%

all down by 1% or more.

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