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25 Mar 2021 | 08:16

Europe open: Shares lower as investors eye EU vaccine summit

(Sharecast News) - European shares opened lower on Thursday as investors waited to see whether EU leaders would ban Covid vaccine exports amid a row with the UK over supplies of the drug. The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was down 0.19% in early trade, with the UK FTSE 100 slightly higher and other regional bourses in the red.

"Thursday's a big day. Not only will it see EU leaders discuss whether to ban vaccine exports, it could further set the tone of the UK's post-Brexit relationship with the bloc," said Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell.

"Since the summit is set to continue into Friday, and may produce no firm answer given the reservations officials reportedly have over decision-making done via virtual meetings, the markets could be left wanting. However, any hint as to which direction the EU will swing could have an outsized impact on the UK markets especially."

"In anticipation of the summit, the markets were erring on the side of caution, reluctant to move too much after the bell."

Across the pond, investors were also eyeing US jobless claims, expected to fall back to 727,000 from last week's 770,000, and a final Q4 GDP reading with analysts expecting an unchanged annualised rate of 4.1%.

In equity news, Cineworld shares led the fallers, down more than 8% after reporting a massive $3bn annual loss and revealing that it was asking for shareholder approval to lift debt limits and also raising another $213m in cash.
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