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European stocks sapped by virus, U.S. election worries

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Sept 30 (Reuters) - European stocks slipped on Wednesday as surging coronavirus cases and a chaotic debate which underlined the risks from the U.S. presidential election sapped risk appetite at the end of a tumultuous month for financial markets.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was down 0.3% by 0711 GMT tracking Wall Street futures lower after a messy face-off between U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden overnight stoked caution among investors.

Meanwhile, Britain reported 7,143 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the highest single figure to date, and Germany looked set to tighten COVID-19 restrictions.

That offset optimism from data that showed a surge in German retail sales in August and China’s factory activity extending solid growth in September.

Growth-sensitive travel & leisure, auto and banking stocks led the declines, while defensive sectors telecom and utilities helped limit losses.

UK-based Compass Group slid 4.6% after the world’s biggest caterer said it expects to report a roughly one-fifth fall in organic revenue for 2020.

French waste and water management company Suez SA jumped 7.0% after bigger rival Veolia raised its offer to 18 euros per share from 15.5 euros to buy a 29.9% stake in the company. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru)

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