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Jump in Europe virus cases hits shares after sharp weekly rally

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Nov 13 (Reuters) - Europe’s benchmark stock index fell on Friday, setting up to end its second straight week of gains on a glum note, as surging coronavirus cases compounded fears of the damage to the bloc’s economy in the coming winter months.

The pan-European STOXX 600 was down 0.3% by 0805 GMT after jumping earlier this week on optimism around a working COVID-19 vaccine. The index has gained about 12% in the past two weeks, also buoyed by hopes of calmer global trade under U.S. President-elect Joe Biden.

France’s CAC 40 index lost 0.1% as Prime Minister Jean Castex said there would be no immediate easing of a second COVID-19 lockdown, with the number of hospitalisations now higher than at the peak of the first wave.

The energy index led declines, falling 1.4% with banking and travel stocks also dropping more than 0.8% in early trading.

In company news, French power group EDF fell 0.3% after reporting a decline in third-quarter revenue as the COVID-19 pandemic sapped electricity demand and weighed on nuclear energy output in France. (Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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