European stocks sink again as coronavirus panic deepens

Edmund HeaphyFinance and news reporter
Yahoo Finance UK
A health worker in a clinic in Zagreb, Croatia, on Tuesday. (Darko Bandic/AP)
A health worker in a clinic in Zagreb, Croatia, on Tuesday. (Darko Bandic/AP)

European stocks fell yet again on Wednesday amid growing fears about the spread of coronavirus and its impact on the world’s major economies, with officials now warning that an outbreak in the US is likely.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index (^STOXX), which has already had two days of sharp losses, fell by more than 1.5% on Wednesday morning.

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The FTSE 100 (^FTSE) was down by around 1.1% in London. Germany’s DAX (^GDAXI) was down by more than 1.2%, while France’s CAC 40 (^FCHI) fell by almost 0.9%.

The FTSE 100 closed at a 12-month low on Tuesday, and is now down more than 6% since the beginning of the week. The index is on track to close below the 7,000 mark for the first time in a year on Wednesday.

US stocks, meanwhile, had their worst two-day losing streak this week.

“European equities are deep in the red again after Wall Street capitulated on Tuesday on mounting [coronavirus] pandemic fears, and Asia once again took a dive overnight,” said Neil Wilson, the chief markets analyst of Markets.com.

“At present there is no sign of a stabilisation in progress — trying to guess when the bottom is in will be dangerous,” he said.

The Centres for Disease Control warned on Tuesday that coronavirus will almost certainly spread in the US, and advised hospitals, businesses, and schools to begin making the necessary preparations.

Five additional European countries on Tuesday reported new coronavirus cases linked to the outbreak in Italy, which has become the epicentre of the virus in Europe.

Spain, Austria, Croatia, Switzerland, and France all reported new infections.

Stocks in Italy, where there have now been more than 320 cases, also fell on Wednesday. Italy’s FTSE MIB Index (FTSEMIB.MI), which sank by 5.4% on Monday, fell by around 0.9%.

Futures are pointing to a markedly lower open for US stocks. S&P 500 futures (ES=F) are down 0.7%, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures (YM=F) are down 0.9%, while Nasdaq futures (NQ=F) are down more than 0.8%.

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