European stock markets traded with a narrow range Tuesday as attention turned to the first election debate between US President Donald Trump and challenger Joe Biden.

Constant pressure from the coronavirus and re-imposition of containment measures in several countries dampened sentiment overall however. As trading got underway in New York, the Dow Jones index was off by 0.1%, while in London, the FTSE 100 was 0.3 % lower.

The debate between Trump and Biden comes after a report that claimed the US President paid barely any federal income tax for years. The New York Times expose on Trump’s tax affairs will certainly add extra spice to the evening, with the president going into the debate on the backfoot, meaning he’ll probably come out all guns blazing,” remarked Craig Erlam, an analyst at the online brokerage Oanda.

New measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus also kept traders on their toes, as concern rises that a recovery from the near-global shutdown earlier in the year could be derailed. However, a top International Monetary Fund official said the economic outlook was not as bad as it had previously feared.

“Recent incoming data suggests that the outlook may be somewhat less dire” than projected in the crisis lender’s World Economic Outlook published in June, Gerry Rice has said, noting “parts of the global economy (are) beginning to turn the corner”.

On currency markets, the pound was supported by hopes for a breakthrough in post-Brexit trade talks between Britain and the European Union. European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen has said a deal is possible ahead of an EU summit on October 15.

London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.3% at 5,911.52 points

Frankfurt – DAX 30: DOWN 0.2% at 12,847.52 

Paris – CAC 40: FLAT at 4,843.41

EURO STOXX 50: FLAT at 3,222.90

New York – Dow Jones: DOWN 0.1% at 27,563.37

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.1% at 23,539.10 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.9% at 23,275.53 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.2% at 3,224.36 (close)

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2859 from $1.2840 at 2110 GMT

Euro/pound: UP at 91.11 pence from 90.92 pence

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1718 from $1.1664

Dollar/yen: UP at 105.58 yen from 105.56 yen

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 1.7% at $39.92 per barrel,Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 1.3 percent at $41.90 per barrel.