European markets react to surge in coronavirus cases

European markets react to surge in coronavirus cases


European stocks opened lower Wednesday as a surge in coronavirus cases in the U.S. and beyond, and regional outbreaks in Germany, spooked investors.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 was down 0.4% after the opening bell, with all major bourses in negative territory. Health care stocks, which were almost 1% lower, led losses in the region, while the banking sector, up 0.2%, led gains. 

Investor sentiment has been shaken by an uptick in the number of Covid-19 cases all over the world as economies emerge from lockdown. White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Tuesday that parts of the U.S. are beginning to see a “disturbing surge” of Covid-19 cases.

Fauci did also say, however, that states with growing coronavirus outbreaks may not need to do an “absolute shutdown.” More than 2 million people in the U.S. have been infected with the coronavirus so far, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. 

Stocks in Asia Pacific mostly edged higher Wednesday morning while U.S. stock futures also edged higher overnight, despite concerns over the spike in cases in the U.S. and several outbreaks in Germany, one of which led to an entire district being locked down again Tuesday.

Looking at individual stocks, Sweden’s Evolution Gaming tumbled to the bottom of the Stoxx 600 after Reuters reported it had made an offer to buy NetEnt AB for 19.6 billion Swedish krona ($2.1 billion). Shares of the company were down more than 7% during early deals. 

German property firm LEG Immobilien, which shed 3% on Wednesday morning, also edged to the bottom of the European blue chip index. 

Meanwhile, Germany’s Wirecard surged to the top of the Stoxx 600 after a tumultuous few days, with shares up 8%. The payments firm has been embroiled in scandal after it announced auditors couldn’t find 1.9 billion euros of cash on its balance sheet, leading to former CEO Markus Braun’s arrest. 



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