European Shares Continue to Decline On Virus Concerns




European stocks resumed their decline on Wednesday as concerns over the coronavirus' impact on businesses and households overshadowed global stimulus efforts to soften the economic impact.


The pan European Stoxx 600 tumbled 4.2 percent to 278.87 after rallying 2.3 percent on Tuesday. The German DAX lost 5.2 percent, while France's CAC 40 index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 were down around 5.1 percent.


Swiss specialty chemicals company Clariant AG fell about 5 percent. The company has decided to postpone the 25th Annual General Meeting planned for March 30 due to the worldwide spreading of coronavirus or COVID-19.


Spanish fashion retailer Inditex declined 2.5 percent. The company said that as of March 17 it had temporarily closed 3,785 stores in 39 markets.


BMW shares plunged 8 percent. The luxury carmaker said it expects fiscal 2020 Group profit before tax significantly lower than in 2019, due to the global spread of coronavirus or Covid-19.


Volkswagen gave up 8.2 percent after announcing plans to suspend production at European factories over COVID-19 fears.


Daimler Group shed 6 percent. The automaker has decided to suspend the majority of its production in Europe, as well as work in selected administrative departments for two weeks, due to the worsening situation of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Aircraft engine manufacturer MTU Aero Engines plunged 15 percent as airlines halt deliveries and new orders to conserve cash.


Munich Re declined 3 percent. The provider of reinsurance, primary insurance and insurance-related risk solutions backed its fiscal 2020 profit forecast, adding that it is strategically and financially well on course.


Sodexo shares rose over 1 percent. The food services and facilities management company said its first half results are projected to be in line with internal forecasts and aligned with fiscal 2020 annual guidance.


Asia-focused lender HSBC Holdings lost 4 percent. The bank announced the appointment of Noel Quinn as Group Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately.


Restaurant Group shares jumped 3.7 percent. The company reported that Group like-for-like sales for the first eight weeks of the fiscal year were up 4.5 percent, in a period unaffected by Covid-19.


However, in the last two weeks, due to material impact from Covid-19, Group like-for-like sales were down 12.5 percent. The Concessions business like-for-like sales were down 21.7 percent, during the two-week period.


Morrison Supermarkets soared 6 percent. The company reported that its statutory profit before tax after exceptionals was up 43.6 percent to 435 million pounds for 52 weeks ended 2 February 2020.


Marston's advanced 1.5 percent. The brewery, pub and hotel operator reported that, for the 24 weeks to 14th March, like-for-like sales in its pubs were 1 percent below last year. In Marston's Beer Company, beer volumes were in line with expectations, the Group said.


Consumer products group PZ Cussons surged 6.2 percent. The company has proposed to sell its Nigerian dairy business Nutricima, as part of its Focus, Scale and Accelerate strategy.

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