European Shares Decline After Three-day Rally

European stocks fell on profit taking Friday as fears of a deep global recession overshadowed optimism about more stimulus measures by global central banks and governments.

Virus anxiety deepened as the U.S. surpassed China and Italy with at least 82,100 reported coronavirus cases.

There are now more than half a million cases of coronavirus reported in 202 countries and territories around the world.

The pan European Stoxx 600 dropped 2.5 percent to 313.36 after climbing 2.6 percent in the previous session.

The German DAX fell 2.5 percent, France’s CAC 40 index tumbled 3 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 was down 3.8 percent.

German automaker Volkswagen declined 3.4 percent after extending suspension of production at its passenger cars brand, commercial vehicles as well as Volkswagen group components until April 9.

Cairn Energy tumbled 4.5 percent. The oil and gas exploration and development company announced an overall 23 percent reduction in capital expenditure for the year 2020 in light of current market conditions amid Coronavirus.

Faurecia shares slumped 6 percent as the automotive supplier abandoned its financial outlook due to the hit to its business from the coronavirus outbreak.

Ophthalmic company EssilorLuxottica gave up nearly 7 percent. Due to the evolving coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic, the company said its outlook for fiscal 2020 is no longer valid.

Publicis Groupe fell over 2 percent. Due to the uncertainties related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the advertising and public relations company has decided not to give any guidance until further notice.

British housebuilder Redrow slumped 7 percent. The company has decided to commence with immediate effect, an orderly and safe closure of all of the company’s sites and offices.

Also, the company revealed that it was in talks with banks to secure additional credit and had applied to take part in the Bank of England’s scheme for financing support.

Berkeley Group shares declined 2.4 percent, Taylor Wimpey plunged 7 percent and Persimmon plummeted 8.5 percent.

Rightmove lost 6.7 percent. Due to the uncertainties caused by the impact of COVID-19, the online real estate portal and property website has suspended all existing financial guidance for 2020.

Next Plc shares were down 5.5 percent. The retailer announced that it has decided to temporarily close its online, warehousing and distribution Operations due to Covid-19.

Aerospace, defense and energy company Meggitt plunged 8 percent after saying it will not pay a final dividend for 2019.

Sub-prime lender Provident Financial plunged 13 percent after it decided to withdraw any forward guidance for 2020 as a result of COVID-19.

In economic releases, French consumer confidence weakened slightly in March, survey results from the statistical office Insee showed. The corresponding index dropped to 103 from 104 in February.

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