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European stocks lose steam after five-day rally

(For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock markets, click LIVE/ or type LIVE/ in a news window)

Nov 6 (Reuters) - European stocks struggled for momentum on Friday after a strong rally this week as Italy and France posted a record number of coronavirus cases, while the counting of U.S. election votes continued.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was down 0.1% by 0818 GMT after a five-day winning run that put the index on course for its best week since early April.

France, already under a national lockdown, set a daily record for COVID-19 cases for the second time in four days, and Italy also registered its highest ever daily tally on Thursday.

Also weighing on the markets, technology and healthcare heavyweights fell after strong gains this week.

U.S. Democrat Joe Biden was moving closer to victory over Republican President Donald Trump in the race for White House, but the outcome was unclear with votes still being tallied and Trump falsely claiming the election was being “stolen” from him.

Insurers got a boost after Germany’s Allianz rose 2.8% after it reported an surprise 6% rise in third-quarter net profit.

A multi-billion dollar deal involving RSA, Canadian insurer Intact Financial and Danish insurer Tryg also lifted the sector. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)