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March 18, 2020, 9:38 a.m. EDT

European stocks losses intensify as investors weigh up stimulus plans and oil slides

Drugmakers and oil companies slump as telecoms rise

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By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch


Reuters
Some merchants from the Porta Palazzo market, Turin, improvise a flash mob by singing the Italian anthem and waving Italian flags to celebrate the 159th anniversary of the unification of Italy on March 17, 2020.

Losses compounded for European stock markets on Wednesday, as oil prices slumped and investors fretted that plans by governments to prevent economic collapse from the coronavirus pandemic are lacking.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP -0.77%  fell 4.8% to 276.97, after closing up 2.3% on Tuesday. The German DAX 30 index /zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed DX:DAX -0.04%  slumped 5.4%, the French CAC 40 index /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 -1.21%  dropped 5.6% and the FTSE 100 index /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX -1.73%  dropped nearly 5%.

Losses were less pronounced in Spain and Italy, where the IBEX 35 index /zigman2/quotes/210597995/delayed XX:IBEX -1.22%  and the FTSE MIB Italy index /zigman2/quotes/210598024/delayed IT:I945 -1.98%  fell 3% each.

That is as Dow Jones Industrial Average futures /zigman2/quotes/210407078/delayed YM00 -1.36%   hit the lower limits of trading , where they have remained for hours, down 821 points, or nearly 4%, to 20,039.

Fresh losses came after Tuesday’s upbeat session, as global governments announced pledges to shore up economies against the coronavirus pandemic. But investors remained jittery that global leaders are doing enough. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned late on Tuesday that the U.S. jobless rate could climb to 20% without government action, Bloomberg reported.

The EU announced it will curb most foreign travel for 30 days to stop the virus’s spread, and the U.K. may this week announce its own emergency measures to close ports and airports.

The U.K. announced an unprecedented £330 billion ($397 billion) package to protect businesses and measures to support individuals hit by the pandemic. Measures have also been announced in hard-hit countries like Italy and Spain, which on Tuesday announced a €200 billion relief package to help businesses and individuals.

U.S. stocks rebounded on Tuesday, following White House support for an economic stimulus plan and the Federal Reserve’s moves to provide short-term funding for businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

Read: Trapped in no-man’s-land of coronavirus restrictions, some of Britain’s small businesses are wasting away

The biggest drain on markets was coming from tumbling oil prices, which fell to a 17-year low on Wednesday.

West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery /zigman2/quotes/211629951/delayed CL.1 -3.47% on the New York Mercantile Exchange slid $1.68, or 6.2%, to $25.27 a barrel after hitting its lowest level since April 2003. May Brent crude dropped $1.07, or 3.8%, at $27.66, after trading at its weakest since January 2016.

Oil has broken the oil-supply glut support of $25.06, which previous provided a safety net, said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at AvaTrade, in a note to clients. “The selloff is extremely intense now and if Saudi Arabia and Russia don’t get their act together, we could see it falling all the way to $22,” he said, in reference to the oil-price war between those countries that has routed oil prices.

Shares of BP /zigman2/quotes/207305210/composite BP -4.49%   /zigman2/quotes/202286639/delayed UK:BP -4.43%  and Royal Dutch Shell Group /zigman2/quotes/205095589/composite RDS.A -3.94%   /zigman2/quotes/206428183/delayed UK:RDSA -3.72%  made clear the pain being felt by the sector, with those shares down over 8% each. Airlines again took a huge nosedive, with easyJet /zigman2/quotes/202825892/delayed UK:EZJ -0.61%  sliding 17%.

Telecommunications companies were among the gainers in Europe, with Telefónica /zigman2/quotes/207034643/composite TEF -1.84%   /zigman2/quotes/200416613/delayed ES:TEF -1.25%  up 7.7% and Orange /zigman2/quotes/201008076/delayed FR:ORA -1.51%  up 6%.

Drugmakers were under pressure, with shares of Roche Holding /zigman2/quotes/206324342/delayed CH:ROG +0.73%  down over 5%, AstraZeneca /zigman2/quotes/203048482/delayed UK:AZN -1.15% , /zigman2/quotes/200304487/composite AZN -0.20%  Sanofi /zigman2/quotes/201967021/composite SNY -1.71% /zigman2/quotes/206928357/delayed FR:SAN -1.52%  and GlaxoSmithKline /zigman2/quotes/209463850/composite GSK -0.86%   /zigman2/quotes/200381158/delayed UK:GSK -0.74%  all posting losses of 4% or more.

On the upside, grocers were climbing as individuals continue to put emphasis on stocking up while lockdowns spread across Europe. Shares of Marks & Spencer Group /zigman2/quotes/206225481/delayed UK:MKS -0.13% rose 11%, J. Sainsbury /zigman2/quotes/206038250/delayed UK:SBRY -1.88% climbed 10% and Wm Morrison Supermarkets /zigman2/quotes/205533138/delayed UK:MRW -0.58%  rose 8%.

/zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed
XX : STOXX
363.64
-2.84 -0.77%
Volume: 0.00
July 9, 2020 5:50p
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/zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed
DAX
DX : Xetra Indices
12,489.46
-5.35 -0.04%
Volume: 76,140
July 9, 2020 6:30p
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/zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed
FR : France: Euronext Paris
4,921.01
-60.12 -1.21%
Volume: 83,118
July 9, 2020 6:05p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed
UK : FTSE UK
6,049.62
-106.54 -1.73%
Volume: 659,498
July 9, 2020 4:59p
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/zigman2/quotes/210597995/delayed
XX : Spain: Madrid
7,236.90
-89.50 -1.22%
Volume: 176.47M
July 9, 2020 5:38p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598024/delayed
IT : Borsa Italiana
19,505.95
-393.58 -1.98%
Volume: 0.00
July 9, 2020 5:35p
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/zigman2/quotes/210407078/delayed
US : U.S.: CBOT
$ 25,617.00
-352.00 -1.36%
Volume: 202,608
July 9, 2020 1:50p
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/zigman2/quotes/211629951/delayed
US : U.S.: Nymex
$ 39.48
-1.42 -3.47%
Volume: 332,806
July 9, 2020 2:50p
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/zigman2/quotes/207305210/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 22.12
-1.04 -4.49%
Volume: 10.42M
July 9, 2020 3:00p
P/E Ratio
18.46
Dividend Yield
11.19%
Market Cap
$76.82 billion
Rev. per Employee
$4.03M
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/zigman2/quotes/202286639/delayed
UK : U.K.: London
290.00 p
-13.45 -4.43%
Volume: 35.27M
July 9, 2020 4:35p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
11.44%
Market Cap
£61.00 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
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/zigman2/quotes/205095589/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 31.46
-1.29 -3.94%
Volume: 4.47M
July 9, 2020 3:00p
P/E Ratio
12.99
Dividend Yield
8.49%
Market Cap
$122.85 billion
Rev. per Employee
$4.75M
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/zigman2/quotes/206428183/delayed
UK : U.K.: London
1,231.20 p
-47.60 -3.72%
Volume: 2.79M
July 9, 2020 4:35p
P/E Ratio
12.70
Dividend Yield
4.11%
Market Cap
£97.55 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
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/zigman2/quotes/202825892/delayed
UK : U.K.: London
652.80 p
-4.00 -0.61%
Volume: 2.35M
July 9, 2020 4:35p
P/E Ratio
10.74
Dividend Yield
6.72%
Market Cap
£2.85 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
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/zigman2/quotes/207034643/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 4.53
-0.09 -1.84%
Volume: 716,168
July 9, 2020 3:00p
P/E Ratio
21.89
Dividend Yield
7.14%
Market Cap
$23.17 billion
Rev. per Employee
$468,110
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/zigman2/quotes/200416613/delayed
ES : Spain: Madrid
3.95
-0.05 -1.25%
Volume: 25.52M
July 9, 2020 5:38p
P/E Ratio
49.81
Dividend Yield
8.06%
Market Cap
€20.46 billion
Rev. per Employee
€396,788
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/zigman2/quotes/201008076/delayed
FR : France: Euronext Paris
10.41
-0.16 -1.51%
Volume: 6.36M
July 9, 2020 5:37p
P/E Ratio
9.71
Dividend Yield
4.81%
Market Cap
€28.00 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
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/zigman2/quotes/206324342/delayed
CH : Switzerland: SWX
CHF 332.95
+2.40 +0.73%
Volume: 1.26M
July 9, 2020 5:30p
P/E Ratio
21.32
Dividend Yield
2.70%
Market Cap
CHF282.49 billion
Rev. per Employee
CHF601,914
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/zigman2/quotes/203048482/delayed
UK : U.K.: London
8,480.00 p
-99.00 -1.15%
Volume: 1.15M
July 9, 2020 4:35p
P/E Ratio
92.94
Dividend Yield
2.57%
Market Cap
£112.58 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
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/zigman2/quotes/200304487/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 54.08
-0.11 -0.20%
Volume: 3.52M
July 9, 2020 3:00p
P/E Ratio
104.14
Dividend Yield
2.53%
Market Cap
$141.78 billion
Rev. per Employee
$342,432
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/201967021/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 50.64
-0.88 -1.71%
Volume: 596,574
July 9, 2020 3:00p
P/E Ratio
39.20
Dividend Yield
2.32%
Market Cap
$128.85 billion
Rev. per Employee
$390,092
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/zigman2/quotes/206928357/delayed
FR : France: Euronext Paris
89.18
-1.38 -1.52%
Volume: 1.91M
July 9, 2020 5:35p
P/E Ratio
38.57
Dividend Yield
3.53%
Market Cap
€113.75 billion
Rev. per Employee
€330,656
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/zigman2/quotes/209463850/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 40.38
-0.35 -0.86%
Volume: 2.09M
July 9, 2020 3:00p
P/E Ratio
17.10
Dividend Yield
4.89%
Market Cap
$100.57 billion
Rev. per Employee
$430,379
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/zigman2/quotes/200381158/delayed
UK : U.K.: London
1,592.80 p
-11.80 -0.74%
Volume: 5.97M
July 9, 2020 4:35p
P/E Ratio
14.83
Dividend Yield
5.02%
Market Cap
£79.86 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
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/zigman2/quotes/206225481/delayed
UK : U.K.: London
94.88 p
-0.12 -0.13%
Volume: 16.88M
July 9, 2020 4:35p
P/E Ratio
61.21
Dividend Yield
4.11%
Market Cap
£1.85 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
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/zigman2/quotes/206038250/delayed
UK : U.K.: London
187.40 p
-3.60 -1.88%
Volume: 8.90M
July 9, 2020 4:35p
P/E Ratio
32.14
Dividend Yield
1.76%
Market Cap
£4.23 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
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/zigman2/quotes/205533138/delayed
UK : U.K.: London
178.60 p
-1.05 -0.58%
Volume: 7.44M
July 9, 2020 4:35p
P/E Ratio
12.36
Dividend Yield
4.91%
Market Cap
£4.30 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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