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Europe close: Shares slump as coronavirus feeds into data and company updates

By Alexander Bueso

Date: Tuesday 18 Feb 2020

Europe close: Shares slump as coronavirus feeds into data and company updates

(Sharecast News) - Stocks across the Continent were sent lower by a much weaker-than-expected reading on a key survey for the economic outlook in Germany and after technology giant Apple withdrew its sales guidance for the first quarter.
Claus Vistesen at Pantheon Macroeconomics said the big miss in the ZEW institute's closely-followed gauge of investor sentiment for Germany was but the first instance of a trend as corporates took stock of the impact from the Chinese coronavirus COVID-19.

On that note, Apple warned overnight that it would not meet analysts' estimates amid a slow ramp-up post the Lunar New Year holidays in China due to the outbreak.

By the end of trading, the Stoxx 600 was down 0.38% to 430.33, alongside a 0.48% drop for the Cac-40 to 6,086.82, while the German Dax lost 0.75% to 13,681.19.

The ZEW expectations index for Germany fell from 26.7 in January to 8.7 for February (consensus: 21.5).

A separate gauge for the Eurozone meanwhile weakened bny 15.4 points to 10.4.

The FTSE Mibtel on the other hand was 0.41% higher to 25,223.51.

Buoying the Italian benchmark was a 24% surge in shares of Unione di Banche Italiane SpA following a bid by Intesa SanPaolo, with shares of the latter also tellingly higher.

Shares of HSBC went into reverse after announcing plans to reduce its workforce by 35,000 and shrink its balance sheet by $100.0bn in the wake of a 53% drop in its fourth quarter profits.

Shares of ASM International were down by 6% on the back of Apple's warning, alongside a 4% slump for Dialog Semiconductor.

The number of new coronavirus cases in the Chinese province of Hubei slipped to 1,807 on Tuesday but the global count increased to 72,436, with the number of deaths in that same region rising by 93 and the number globally to 1,868.

On a related note, analysts at Nomura cut their forecast for first quarter Chinese GDP from 3.8% year-on-year to 3.0% and cautioned that worse was possible.

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