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Coronavirus continues to dent European stocks

Edmund Heaphy
Finance and news reporter
A woman wearing a sanitary mask in Milan on Monday. (Claudio Furlan/Lapresse via AP)

European stocks slipped again on Tuesday as investors contended with soaring coronavirus infections and the previous session’s steep losses.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index (^STOXX), which had its worst day since 2016 on Monday, fell by almost 0.9% on Tuesday morning.

Italy’s FTSE MIB Index (FTSEMIB.MI), which sank by 5.4% on Monday, fell by 1.1%.

The FTSE 100 (^FTSE) was down by around 0.8% in London. Germany’s DAX (^GDAXI) was down by almost 0.9%, while France’s CAC 40 (^FCHI) also fell by around 0.8%.

Markets were roiled by the number of infections in Italy, where authorities on Sunday locked down around a dozen towns in the country’s northern Lombardy and Veneto regions.

There have now been more than 230 confirmed cases in the country, which has become the epicentre of the virus outbreak in Europe.

Some seven people have died in Italy, which is the eurozone’s third-largest economy. Globally, there have now been more than 80,200 people infected with coronavirus, while more than 2,700 have died from coronavirus-related illnesses.

“For now, there appears little prospect that financial markets look likely to settle down in the short term, which means investors will have to get used to an extended period of uncertainty and volatility,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, on Tuesday.

“There is no question financial markets are coming round to the realisation that this particular crisis is likely to have a slightly longer shelf life than many thought was the case a couple of weeks ago,” he said.

The losses followed a weak session in Asia. Japan’s Nikkei (^N225), which was closed for a holiday on Monday, finished out Tuesday’s session more than 3.3% down.

China’s SSE Composite Index (^SSEC) fell by 0.6%, even as the Hang Seng (^HSI) climbed by 0.27% in Hong Kong on Monday.

Futures are pointing to a steady open for US stocks. S&P 500 futures (ES=F), Dow Jones Industrial Average futures (YM=F), and Nasdaq futures (NQ=F) are all up marginally.

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