By Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch
European stocks traded lower on Tuesday as traders on the Continent got their first opportunity to react to the shock of negative oil prices.
After three straight advances, the Stoxx Europe 600 /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP -0.26% lost 1.5%.
The German DAX /zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed DX:DAX -0.41% , French CAC 40 /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 +0.34% and U.K. FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX -0.12% each fell.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210407078/delayed YM00 -0.12% fell 191 points.
After European stock markets closed on Monday, light sweet crude for May delivery lost $55.90 per barrel to -$37.63, the first time that oil prices have ever traded negatively, reflecting a scramble for storage amid deteriorating world demand.
The international contract, Brent for June delivery /zigman2/quotes/209704782/delayed UK:BRN00 -0.97% , dropped nearly 16%.
The big European-headquartered oil producers all traded lower on Tuesday, with BP /zigman2/quotes/202286639/delayed UK:BP +7.65% , Royal Dutch Shell /zigman2/quotes/206428183/delayed UK:RDSA +3.20% and Total /zigman2/quotes/206172043/delayed FR:FP +2.50% all retreating by around 3%.
“Yesterday was a wake-up call and investors would be remiss to ignore that low oil means lower inflation, higher defaults, lower growth and more political instability as less petrodollars circulate in the system,” said Gregory Perdon, co-chief investment officer at Arbuthnot Latham.
The broader focus is on the coronavirus spread that has closed much of the world economy.
Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel, who reopened smaller shops on Monday, said that it would take at least 14 days to assess the impact of the easing measures and that the country won’t move too quickly with the next step.
SAP /zigman2/quotes/203458330/delayed DE:SAP -3.03% fell 2% after announcing co-CEO Jennifer Morgan will be leaving the software giant this month, leaving Christian Klein in control. SAP said a significant percentage of new business was postponed in March, as first-quarter adjusted operating profit edged 1% higher. Its adjusted measure of revenue rose 7%, with cloud revenue jumping 27%. SAP had cut its financial outlook earlier in the month.
Laboratory equipment supplier Sartorius /zigman2/quotes/206274595/delayed DE:SRT3 -0.06% was an advancer, rising 9% after hiking its sales forecast for the year, as it plans to close the acquisition of Danaher’s /zigman2/quotes/210555154/composite DHR +1.49% life-science businesses in weeks and reported 17% sales growth in the first quarter.