European Shares Set To Follow Asian Peers Lower

European stocks may follow Wall Street and Asia lower on Friday as coronavirus spreads to South Korea, Singapore and other Asian economies.

According to Chinese health officials, the death toll in China’s novel coronavirus has gone up to 2,236 with 118 more deaths reported, mostly from the hard-hit Hubei province.

While the number of deaths is higher than the previous day, the rate of new infections has declined, raising hopes that Beijing’s epidemic control efforts were working.

South Korea declared a “special management zone” around a southeastern city as health authorities reported 52 new cases of the illness, raising the tally in the country to 156.

The mayor of the southeastern city of Daegu urged the city’s 2.5 million people to stay home and wear masks even indoors if possible.

23 people were confirmed to be infected with the new coronavirus in Japan on Thursday, bringing the total number of reported infections to 728.

According to China Passenger Car Association (CPCA), retail sales of passenger cars in the country plunged 92 percent during the first two weeks of February in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

South Korea’s exports to China shrank 3.7 percent year-over-year in the first 20 days of February, customs data showed.

Asian markets fell broadly as a batch of warnings from companies over the impact of the virus on bottom lines prompted traders to shift money into bonds and gold.

Oil prices fell after hitting their highest in almost four weeks following a
much smaller-than-anticipated rise in crude stocks.

U.S. stocks ended lower overnight as investors fretted about the spread of coronavirus outside China.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 shed around 0.4 percent while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index declined 0.7 percent.

European markets also fell on Thursday as disappointing earnings news overshadowed news of extra stimulus from China.

The pan European Stoxx 600 lost 0.9 percent. The German DAX gave up 0.9 percent, France’s CAC 40 index shed 0.8 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 slid 0.3 percent.

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