European Shares Retreat On Virus Worries

European stocks fell on Wednesday as Tokyo reported a jump in infections to mark its highest daily tally since May 5 and Germany reported 712 new cases, fuelling concerns about a second wave of coronavirus infections.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top virus expert in the U.S., told Congress on Tuesday that the next two weeks would be critical in trying to keep the virus under control.

Meanwhile, there are reports that the European Union is mulling a ban on American travellers when it reopens its borders on July 1.

On the positive side, the Ifo business climate index for Germany rose to a reading of 86.2 in June from 79.5 in May, beating forecasts.

The pan European Stoxx 600 dropped 1.35 percent to 362.50 after rising 1.3 percent on Tuesday.

The German DAX lost 1.7 percent and France’s CAC 40 index declined 1.5 percent while the U.K.’s FTSE 100 was down as much as 2.3 percent.

Pharma stocks were moving lower, with AstraZeneca losing 1.8 percent and GlaxoSmithKline falling 2.6 percent.

Technology stocks were on the rise, with Dialog Semiconductor surging as much as 9 percent after raising its second-quarter revenue outlook. ams AG jumped 8 percent.

Volkswagen declined 1.8 percent on reports that the automaker is in talks to buy French car-rental company Europcar Mobility Group.

Nokia fell 1 percent on news that Pekka Lundmark will start his new role as President and Chief Executive Officer on August 1.

Petrofac slumped 11 percent. In its pre-close trading update, the oilfield services provider said that trading and awards for the first-half year-to-date period was materially impacted by Covid-19 and the sharp fall in oil and gas prices.

British house building company Persimmon tumbled 4.4 percent as it announced the appointment of Dean Finch as Group Chief Executive.

Premier Foods soared 7.4 percent. The food manufacturer reported profit before tax of 53.6 million pounds for the 52 weeks ended 28 March 2020 compared to a loss of 42.7 million pounds, previous year.

JD Wetherspoon lost 4.5 percent. The company said it does not currently intend to start any new pub development projects in the next 12 months.

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