By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch
European markets fell into the red on Friday, and were headed for the worst weekly loss in months, as the U.K. reported its first cases of coronavirus and data showed softer growth in the eurozone.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP -1.01% fell 0.5% to 413.07 after closing down 1% on Thursday, snapping a two-session winning streak. Down 2% for the week as of Thursday, the index is on track for its biggest weekly loss since October 2019.
The German DAX 30 /zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed DX:DAX -1.44% fell 0.5% and the French CAC 40 index /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 -1.22% dropped 0.7%, while the FTSE 100 index /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX -0.97% tumbled 0.8%. The country will officially leave the European Union later on Friday, more than three years after the Brexit vote.
Stocks came under pressure across Europe after the U.K. reported its first two cases of coronavirus on Friday, both members of the same family. The death toll from the virus has topped 200 in China, with nearly 10,000 confirmed cases, and the U.S. has advised citizens against travel to China after the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a global emergency.
Shares of Electrolux /zigman2/quotes/203332100/delayed SE:ELUX.B -1.74% fell over 3% after the Swedish home appliance manufacturer’s profit beat expectations, but the company highlighted a potential financial hit from the coronavirus.
Elsewhere, data showed sluggish growth in the eurozone as gross domestic product grew by 0.1% in the fourth quarter, according to preliminary Eurostat data. That was below the 0.2% growth expected.
Pharmaceutical stocks were a bright spot, with heavily weighted Roche Holding /zigman2/quotes/206324342/delayed CH:ROG +1.47% and Novartis /zigman2/quotes/203286410/delayed CH:NOVN +2.13% both rising over 1%.
Earnings continued to trickle in, with financial services company BBVA /zigman2/quotes/204078760/composite BBVA -2.37% /zigman2/quotes/209653399/delayed ES:BBVA -2.06% swinging to a net loss in the fourth quarter due to the effects of a goodwill impairment at its U.S. business. Shares fell 0.9%.
Shares of Banco de Sabadell /zigman2/quotes/206753237/delayed ES:SAB -5.43% plunged 11%, the worst performer on the Stoxx 600 after the Spanish bank reported a net loss, against analyst expectations for a profit.