South Africa | European stock markets drop at open

Europe's major stock markets sank on Friday, extending this week's sharp losses, with investors spooked by soaring coronavirus cases that have forced fresh lockdowns and tighter restrictions.

In initial deals, the London's benchmark FTSE 100 fell 0.7% to 5 541.66 points, the Paris CAC 40 shed 0.9% to 4 529.37 and Frankfurt's DAX 30 was down almost 1.2% at 11 464.77.

Sentiment was also roiled by a lack of agreement in the United States on a coronavirus stimulus package ahead of next week's presidential election.

"Surging Covid-19 numbers, a lack of US stimulus and pre-election uncertainty (are) weighing heavily on sentiment," said OANDA analyst Craig Erlam.

"The markets have been quite comfortable on the Covid-19 risk in recent months but the latest surge has put it front and centre once again.

"Economies are being locked down again and that's a significant downside risk for these markets. The markets have become complacent to the risks of Covid-19 and this second wave is shaping up to be brutal."

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