(For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock
markets, click LIVE/ or type LIVE/ in a news window)
* Surge in coronavirus cases dents mood
* EU negotiator Barnier extends London visit for Brexit
* AstraZeneca gains on positive COVID-19 vaccine update
* Coca-Cola European Partners rise on buyout offer
* FTSE 100 down 1.2%, FTSE 250 drops 1.4%
Oct 26 (Reuters) - London stocks closed sharply lower on
Monday, weighed by travel and energy stocks, while a resurgence
in novel coronavirus cases stoked fears of a faltering economic
recovery and dragged down European markets.
After rising nearly 0.1% in morning trade, the blue-chip FTSE
100 index fell 1.2%, led by declines in travel and
leisure, personal goods makers,
retailers and aero stocks.
Energy and mining weighed the most
on the index due to weaker commodity prices.
The domestically focussed mid-cap FTSE 250 index
lost 1.4% even as European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier
and his team extended their London visit until Wednesday to try
and clinch a Brexit trade deal.
European markets were weighed down by a plunge in tech major
SAP, an impasse over the U.S. stimulus package and
fears that a resurgence in coronavirus cases could hamper a
global economic recovery as governments tighten restrictions on
businesses and social activity.
"The fact that (more) countries are now reining in the
freedom of people to move around is going to have a detrimental
impact on the actual overall activity level in the economy",
said Saxo Bank chief investment officer Steen Jakobsen.
"UK is even more challenged due to the COVID-19 close-down
After a stimulus-backed rally from pandemic lows, the FTSE
100 has been trading in tight ranges since June due to
Brexit-related uncertainty and concerns over coronavirus curbs.
In a bright spot, AstraZeneca Plc rose 1.7% after
the drugmaker resumed the U.S. trial of its experimental
COVID-19 vaccine that is being developed with the University of
Oxford, and said it produced a similar immune response in both
older and younger adults.
The wider healthcare index added 1%.
Educational publisher Pearson Plc added 3% after
UBS upgraded the stock to a "buy" rating.
Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) rose 0.3%
after the soft drink bottler made a buyout offer of $6.6 billion
for its Australian peer Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd.
(Reporting by Devik Jain in Bengaluru; editing by Aditya Soni
and Bernadette Baum)