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Earnings nudge European stocks higher, virus concerns limit gains

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Oct 23 (Reuters) - European stocks inched higher on Friday, boosted by positive earnings updates from Barclays and carmakers, while nagging concerns about the economic impact of surging COVID-19 cases put markets on course for weekly losses.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.2% by 0711 GMT, with Asian markets stuck in a trading range as investors treaded with caution with less than two weeks to go before the U.S. presidential election.

London’s FTSE 100 was supported by a 2.8% jump in Barclays after it reported much better than expected quarterly earnings.

Carmaker Daimler rose 1.9% after it raised its 2020 profit outlook, while Renault was up 1.5% after saying it should have positive cash flow from cars by the end of 2020 as sales recovered.

However, gains were limited as France looked set to widen a curfew to more than two thirds of its population after the country set an all-time daily high of new coronavirus cases on Thursday.

IHS Markit’s early reading of euro zone and UK business activity for October is due later in the day. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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