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April 3, 2020, 10:02 a.m. EDT

European stocks drop after grim PMI data as coronavirus cases hit 1 million world-wide

H&M shares gain after results

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By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch


Getty Images
Two women wearing protective face masks walk across the Piazza del Duomo, in central Milan, Italy, on February 24, 2020.

European stocks fell on Friday on data reflecting the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

After rising 0.4% on Thursday, the Stoxx Europe 600 /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP -0.57%   fell 0.6%, and was poised to end the week down 0.3%. The German DAX /zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed DX:DAX -0.24%  slipped 0.2%, the French CAC 40 /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 -0.56%  dropped 1.1% and the FTSE MIB Italy index /zigman2/quotes/210598024/delayed IT:I945 -1.52%  dropped 1.4%. The FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX -0.30%  fell 0.8%.

The IHS Markit eurozone services purchasing managers index in March slumped to a reading of 26.4 from 52.6 in February, the worst-ever reading in the history of the series. In Italy, the services PMI fell to 17.4 in March, plunging from 52.1 in February, while Spain’s also recorded a record fall.

“It’s also a reminder to Europe and the EU especially, if any were needed, of the economic carnage being wreaked by the virus,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.. As for Italy’s data plunge, “that’s not a contraction, that’s an economic collapse, and utterly tragic,” he said.

The coronavirus epidemic has now infected 1,016,401 people according to aggregated data from Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering’s Centers for Systems Science and Engineering.

Meanwhile the U.S. reported the biggest employment decline in 11 years on Friday, with nonfarm payrolls falling 701,000, though the reality is more like 10 million, judging by the number of people in the U.S. who have been filing for unemployment benefits. U.S. stocks traded lower in early action, but losses for markets were contained by another sharp gain in oil prices.

Oil prices climbed again on Friday, boosted by hopes the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies will deliver a production cut and end a devastating price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery /zigman2/quotes/211629951/delayed CL.1 -2.16% rose $2, or 8.2%, to $27.46 a barrel, after a 24.7% gain on Thursday, while June Brent crude  climbed $3.47, or 11%, to $33.45 a barrel after a 21% gain on Thursday that left it at $29.94 a barrel. President Donald Trump tweeted that he was confident Saudi Arabia and Russia would reach an agreement to end the price war that has been crushing prices.

Despite oil’s gains, shares of heavily weighted BP /zigman2/quotes/207305210/composite BP -0.62%   /zigman2/quotes/202286639/delayed UK:BP -1.14%  shares fell 2% and Total SA /zigman2/quotes/206172043/delayed FR:FP -0.70%   /zigman2/quotes/201824152/composite TOT +0.57%  shares tumbled 6.4%.

There were some bright spots for European markets, with gains among drugmakers — Novartis /zigman2/quotes/203286410/delayed CH:NOVN +0.37%   /zigman2/quotes/203243705/composite NVS +0.02%  rose 1.7% and AstraZeneca /zigman2/quotes/203048482/delayed UK:AZN +1.66% added 1%. Food group Nestle SA /zigman2/quotes/210131093/composite NSRGY +0.82% /zigman2/quotes/208115528/delayed CH:NESN +0.66%   shares rose 1.3%.

Shares of Hennes & Mauritz /zigman2/quotes/208522175/delayed SE:HM.B -0.95%  gave up earlier gains to drop 2%, making for one of the best-performing Stoxx 600 index names, as the Swedish-based retailer reported a stronger-than-expected first-quarter set of results. That suggests “H&M is in much better shape to deal with the coronavirus than would have been the case in the last three years,” said Citi analysts Adam Cochrane and Matthew Garland.

The company has had to close thousands of stores due to the pandemic, with temporary layoffs and possible redundancies. March sales fell 46% year-over-year as it warned of a fiscal second-quarter loss.

/zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed
XX : STOXX
408.54
-2.35 -0.57%
Volume: 0.00
Jan. 22, 2021 11:03p
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/zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed
DAX
DX : Xetra Indices
13,873.97
-32.70 -0.24%
Volume: 74,565
Jan. 22, 2021 6:30p
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/zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed
FR : France: Euronext Paris
5,559.57
-31.22 -0.56%
Volume: 78,009
Jan. 22, 2021 6:05p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598024/delayed
IT : Borsa Italiana
22,088.36
-340.57 -1.52%
Volume: 0.00
Jan. 22, 2021 5:35p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed
UK : FTSE UK
6,695.07
-20.35 -0.30%
Volume: 681,795
Jan. 22, 2021 4:56p
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/zigman2/quotes/211629951/delayed
US : U.S.: Nymex
$ 51.98
-1.15 -2.16%
Volume: 416,863
Jan. 22, 2021 5:00p
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/zigman2/quotes/207305210/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 23.87
-0.15 -0.62%
Volume: 15.19M
Jan. 22, 2021 4:00p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
7.83%
Market Cap
$81.27 billion
Rev. per Employee
$3.99M
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/zigman2/quotes/202286639/delayed
UK : U.K.: London
290.00 p
-3.35 -1.14%
Volume: 52.49M
Jan. 22, 2021 4:35p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
5.30%
Market Cap
£59.21 billion
Rev. per Employee
£3.11M
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/zigman2/quotes/206172043/delayed
FR : France: Euronext Paris
36.22
-0.26 -0.70%
Volume: 6.98M
Jan. 22, 2021 5:35p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
7.29%
Market Cap
€95.88 billion
Rev. per Employee
€1.46M
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/zigman2/quotes/201824152/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 44.44
+0.25 +0.57%
Volume: 2.51M
Jan. 22, 2021 4:00p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$116.50 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.64M
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/zigman2/quotes/203286410/delayed
CH : Switzerland: SWX
CHF 85.93
+0.32 +0.37%
Volume: 6.26M
Jan. 22, 2021 5:30p
P/E Ratio
29.04
Dividend Yield
3.43%
Market Cap
CHF188.74 billion
Rev. per Employee
CHF454,248
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/zigman2/quotes/203243705/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 96.90
+0.02 +0.02%
Volume: 2.55M
Jan. 22, 2021 4:00p
P/E Ratio
31.16
Dividend Yield
2.07%
Market Cap
$212.97 billion
Rev. per Employee
$457,559
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/zigman2/quotes/203048482/delayed
UK : U.K.: London
7,777.00 p
+127.00 +1.66%
Volume: 2.46M
Jan. 22, 2021 4:35p
P/E Ratio
51.97
Dividend Yield
2.78%
Market Cap
£100.42 billion
Rev. per Employee
£270,731
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/zigman2/quotes/210131093/composite
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 114.31
+0.93 +0.82%
Volume: 229,767
Jan. 22, 2021 3:59p
P/E Ratio
23.95
Dividend Yield
2.04%
Market Cap
$315.38 billion
Rev. per Employee
$320,093
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/zigman2/quotes/208115528/delayed
CH : Switzerland: SWX
CHF 101.02
+0.66 +0.66%
Volume: 4.26M
Jan. 22, 2021 5:30p
P/E Ratio
21.64
Dividend Yield
2.67%
Market Cap
CHF279.51 billion
Rev. per Employee
CHF318,103
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/zigman2/quotes/208522175/delayed
SE : Sweden: Stockholm
kr 182.65
-1.75 -0.95%
Volume: 2.79M
Jan. 22, 2021 5:29p
P/E Ratio
101.78
Dividend Yield
0.00%
Market Cap
kr305.20 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
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Barbara Kollmeyer is an editor for MarketWatch in Madrid. Follow her on Twitter @bkollmeyer.

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