By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch
European stocks gave up a more than 3% gain at one point on Tuesday to finish with losses as markets failed to stabilize on the heels of the worst selloff for markets since the 2008 financial crisis on Monday.
The Stoxx Europe 600 /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP -0.92% finished down 1% to 335.64 after retreating by more than 7% on Monday, its worst single-day percentage drop since the 2008 financial crisis and lowest close since Jan. 2, 2019. The FTSE 100 index /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX -0.71% was flat, giving up a gain of 3.2% after the benchmark slid nearly 7% on Monday to levels last seen when Britain voted to leave the European Union in 2016.
After an initital gain of more than 3% across the board, the German DAX 30 index /zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed DX:DAX -1.18% and French CAC 40 index /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 0.00% fell around 1.5%. Spain’s IBEX 30 /zigman2/quotes/210597995/delayed XX:IBEX -1.78% and the FTSE MIB index /zigman2/quotes/210598024/delayed IT:I945 -0.87% swung from 3% gains to 3% losses each. While Dow futures /zigman2/quotes/210407078/delayed YM00 +0.39% rose over 1,000 points earlier, the index /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -1.86% was last trading up just 0.9%.
“Ultimately, governments and central banks still look like they are playing catch-up to a fast-moving situation, and there is a weary sense that Thursday’s ECB meeting could go the same way,” said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG, in a note to clients. “Italy’s plight looks to be the template for the rest of Europe, while IAG’s move to suspend flights to Italy will have others following suit, and a broader European shutdown of flights is probably only a matter of time.”
Italian stocks tumbled over 11% on Monday as the government put the entire country on lockdown to stop spiraling coronavirus infections. The restrictions are expected to be enforced more seriously than the prior clampdown on the northern region.
Other governments are scrambling to get ahead of outbreaks, with Spain closing schools in two regions — Madrid and a Basque province — as of Wednesday.
U.S. crude-oil futures /zigman2/quotes/209723049/delayed CL00 +2.43% rose over 8% even amid signs of an increasing price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia which tanked prices by the most for a trading session since the 1991 Gulf War on Monday. Energy giant Saudi Aramco said Tuesday that it would supply the market with 12.3 million barrels a day in April .
Shares of Air France-KLM /zigman2/quotes/205396176/delayed FR:AF -2.88% gave up a 5% gain to fall 1%, after a 9% decline Monday. The airline said on Tuesday that it would cut 3,600 flights in March, while KLM expects to reduce long-haul operations. EasyJet PLC /zigman2/quotes/202825892/delayed UK:EZJ -1.21% rose 2%.
Shares of oil giant BP /zigman2/quotes/202286639/delayed UK:BP -0.69% /zigman2/quotes/207305210/composite BP -0.84% rose 3% after a nearly 20% tumble on Monday prompted by a plunge in crude prices after Saudi Arabia slashed its oil prices and said it would increase output next month. Oil prices rose over 5% on Tuesday.
Shares of Deutsche Post /zigman2/quotes/207090990/delayed DE:DPW -2.91% gained 6% after reporting higher fourth-quarter net profit, though the company warned over a significant hit from the virus for some of its units.