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China virus fear slams European shares

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China virus fear slams European shares

China virus fear slams European shares

European shares were on pace for their sharpest decline in three weeks on Tuesday, as mounting concerns over a new coronavirus outbreak originating in China sparked a rush to safe-haven bets.

David Pollard reports.


China virus fear slams European shares

Protective masks were selling out in Shanghai on Tuesday (January 21), but that - for their makers at any rate - is one small upside to a story that has plenty of down.

The coronavirus outbreak in China had share markets seeking protection too, in gold and bonds, as the threat of infection reminded investors of the fallout from the 2003 SARS crisis - when 800 people died.

Airlines were badly hit in the early hours of trading - Air France, Lufthansa, BA-owner IAG slipping around 2%.

And luxury-goods makers - for whom China is for most their biggest market.

LVMH, Kering, Hermes and Burberry all among the major laggards.

In a market move that saw the pan-European STOXX 600 drop 0.7% and in so doing, come further off last week's record high.

Sentiment, though, might have been worse were it not for Emmanuel Macron.

The French president reported a - quote "great discussion" with U.S. President Donald Trump over French plans for a digital tax on U.S. and other tech firms. That adds, say traders, to a sense that - following last week's China/US Phase 1 trade deal - global tariff tensions might be easing.

And there were gainers: fashion house Hugo Boss, up 3% on positive results; easyJet up over 5% on a positive outlook.

Forex had a negative feel.

China's yuan tumbled almost 0.7% as traders sought shelter in the Japanese yen, While keeping a wary eye on the latest developments ... Including how the World Health Organisation would respond at a meeting due on Wednesday (January 22) called to consider declaring an international health emergency.

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