European Shares Tumble As Virus Fears Grow

European stocks tumbled on Wednesday to extend recent loses as the threat of a global coronavirus pandemic grew.

Five European countries have reported cases linked to Italy, while new cases soared in South Korea, with an American soldier in the country becoming the first U.S. serviceman to be infected.

A World Health Organization expert has warned that countries outside China are “simply not ready” for a pandemic.

The pan European Stoxx 600 was down 1.6 percent at 398.23 after losing 1.8 percent in the previous session.

The German DAX fell 1.7 percent, France’s CAC 40 index dropped 1.1 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 was down 0.7 percent.

Staffing company Adecco Group was modestly higher after reporting a better-than-expected fourth-quarter quarterly net profit.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. shares surged 2 percent. The company announced that CEO Mike Manley had total compensation of 13.3 million euros in 2019.

ASM International soared 5.7 percent after KBC Securities raised the stock to a “buy” from a “hold”.

Spanish utility Iberdrola S.A. gained 0.7 percent after reporting a rise in FY19 profit and lifting dividend.

Biotechnology company Biomerieux slumped 5.7 percent after posting disappointing full-year results.

Aareal Bank dropped 1.7 percent after its preliminary 2019 consolidated net income allocated to ordinary shareholders declined 30 percent to 145 million euros from 208 million euros in the prior year.

Deutsche Lufthansa shares fell over 2 percent. The airline said it would freeze new hires and use unpaid leave and additional short-time work to counter the business impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

French technology company Thales added 1 percent after it posted a double-digit growth in its consolidated profit, Group share, and its sales for the full year.

Peugeot shares advanced 1.6 percent. Groupe PSA, the owner of Peugeot and Opel brands, reported that its fiscal year 2019 net income, Group share, rose to 3.20 billion euros from 2.83 billion euros in 2018.

Alcoholic beverages company Diageo fell 2.3 percent after it provided an update on the expected range of the adverse impact in fiscal 2020 due to the evolving COVID-19 situation.

Capital & Counties Properties declined 1.9 percent. The property investment and development company said that its fiscal 2019 loss attributable to owners of the parent was 253.6 million pounds, wider than last year’s loss of 56.9 million pounds.

Bookmaker William Hill slumped 4 percent after it warned of a possible £10m hit from an impending credit card ban.

Restaurant Group plunged more than 6 percent. The owner of Wagamama and Frankie & Benny’s has suspended its dividend and said it would close up to 90 restaurant sites by the end of next year.

Residential developer Taylor Wimpey tumbled 3.5 percent after it warned of squeezed margins for 2020.

Weir Group surged 6.5 percent despite the engineering company swinging to a 2019 pre-tax loss on the back of an impairment charge.

On the economic front, French consumer confidence remained unchanged in February, monthly survey results from the statistical office Insee showed. The corresponding index came in at 104, unchanged from January.

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