• U.S. stimulus talks remain in focus.
  • Corporate earnings are a key driver of individual share price action Thursday.

LONDON — European stocks traded in negative territory Thursday amid continuing uncertainty over U.S. coronavirus stimulus.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 dropped 1% in early trading, with autos shedding 1.6% to lead losses as all sectors and major bourses slid into the red.

U.S. stimulus talks remain in focus for global markets with uncertainty over whether a deal can be reached before the Nov. 3 presidential election. However, comments on stimulus talks from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, offered some room for optimism Wednesday.

“The Speaker & Secretary Mnuchin spoke today at 2:30 pm for 48 minutes. Today’s conversation brings us closer to being able to put pen to paper to write legislation,” Hammill wrote on Twitter just after the closing bell on Wall Street.

“The Speaker and Secretary plan to speak again tomorrow hopefully with further guidance from committee chairs as they work to resolve open questions,” he added.

The deputy chief of staff, whose tweets are now valued for their regular insights, said that the White House and Democrats continue to narrow their differences over health priorities, but that more needs to be done to ensure schools are safe.

U.S. stock futures came under pressure overnight after U.S. officials said Iran is taking steps to interfere in the U.S. presidential election and that Russia has obtained American voter information.

Markets will be keeping an eye on forthcoming U.S. labor market data, with the latest update to jobless claims totals due Thursday at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists polled by Dow Jones expect the Labor Department to show first-time applicants for state unemployment insurance to have totaled 875,000 during the week ended Oct. 17.

Meanwhile, shares in Asia-Pacific declined in Thursday trade, as the International Monetary Fund on Wednesday downgraded its growth forecast for Asia-Pacific to -2.2% in 2020 — “the worst outcome for this region in living memory.”

On the data front, German consumer confidence has ebbed with GfK’s forward-looking index for November coming in at -3.1 points, down from 1.7 points in October.

Earnings in focus

Corporate earnings are a key driver of individual share price action Thursday. British Airways parent IAG slid 3.8% in early trade after posting a 1.3 billion euro ($1.5 billion) loss for the third quarter and cutting its schedule.

Dassault Systemes shares fell 6.8% despite the French software maker posting a slight annual rise in third-quarter net profit.

At the bottom of the Stoxx 600, German automotive battery manufacturer Varta fell 9.6% after announcing that it had extended its contract with CEO Herbert Schein until 2026.

At the top of the European blue chip index, Swedish investment company Lifco climbed 6.6% after a strong third-quarter earnings report.

Source: CNBC