UPDATE 3-European stocks post worst week since October on vaccine woes
(For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock markets, click LIVE/ or type LIVE/ in a news window)
* STOXX 600 down 3% on the week
* Ericsson (BS: ERICAs ) jumps on upbeat earnings
* H&M slides as it fears loss in Q1
(Updates to market close)
By Sruthi Shankar
Jan 29 (Reuters) - European stocks slid on Friday, recording their worst weekly performance since October as concerns around the slow rollout of COVID-19 vaccines mount, while a retail trading frenzy led to volatility on Wall Street.
The benchmark STOXX 600 index .STOXX closed 1.9% lower, erasing all of January's gains and ending the week down 3.1%
Germany's DAX .GDAXI fell 1.7%, the UK's blue-chip FTSE 100 dropped .FTSE 1.8% and U.S. stocks fell more than 1% after underwhelming COVID-19 vaccine data from Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ ) JNJ.N . around the potential economic damage from a new strain of the coronavirus in Europe and delays to vaccine rollouts have dented sentiment in the past few days.
In the U.S., where the stock market enjoyed a stimulus-led rally last year, volatility was seen following steep gains in heavily shorted stocks, including Gamestop GME.N and AMC Entertainment AMC.N after retail traders piled in.
Europe's medicines regulator approved AstraZeneca AZN.L and Oxford University's COVID-19 vaccine for people over the age of 18 on Friday, the third vaccine to be cleared for use in the European Union. urgently needs more shots to speed up its inoculation programme, with AstraZeneca, Pfizer (NYSE: PFE ) PFE.N and Moderna MRNA.O facing difficulties in delivering the shipments to the bloc.
"We're postponing the recovery story a little bit because of the lockdown measures and challenges for European growth," said Joseph Little, global chief strategist at HSBC Global Asset Management, London.
"I'm still optimistic on parts of Europe which have lagged rather badly, economically and in markets. They could begin to perform as the cyclical catch-up becomes more important."
Economy-linked stocks of banks .SX7P , insurers .SXIP , miners .SXPP and oil & gas companies .SXEP were among the worst hit this week but Germany and Spain's economies recorded growth in the fourth quarter, while the French economy contracted by a smaller than expected rate. a busy day for earnings, Sweden's Ericsson ERICb.ST jumped 7.6% after reporting fourth-quarter core earnings ahead of market estimates on the back of strong sales of 5G equipment. DAIGn.DE edged up 0.9% after it said a strong fourth quarter helped it post better-than-expected 2020 group operating profit and that it was optimistic for 2021. fashion retailer H&M HMb.ST fell 5.0% as it braced for a loss in the first quarter after full-year profits plummeted due to COVID-19. earnings season has been largely positive so far. Of the 8% of STOXX 600 companies that have reported, 78% have topped profit estimates, according to Refinitiv IBES data.
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