By Geoffrey Smith
Investing.com – European stock markets opened sharply lower on Friday, following another session of high volatility on Wall Street in which US stocks had abandoned almost all of their gains from the previous day.
With the number of confirmed cases increasing rapidly across Europe, and with increasingly severe measures taken to protect public health across the continent, fears of a severe economic downturn have increased considerably this week.
At 3:15 a.m.ET (8:15 a.m. GMT), the benchmark was down 6.7 points, or 1.8%, to 374.10. The German lost 1.7%, while the United Kingdom fell 1.3% and the Italian – whose headquarters is at the epicenter of the largest epidemic of coronavirus in Europe – fell by 2.1%.
Travel names were again among the biggest losers. The shares of cruise ship Carnival (NYSE 🙂 fell 3.8% while the shares of parent company BA IAG (LON 🙂 fell 6.4%. But the banks also continued to underperform. The Stoxx bank sub-index has fallen 24% in the past three weeks as markets have given up hope of ending deeply negative interest rates at the European Central Bank.
The virus has cruelly exposed the structural fault lines that the eurozone has failed to close in eight years since the last Italian debt crisis. Italy, whose debt burden and chronic slow growth are already a source of concern for its eurozone partners, has proposed more than € 7 billion in emergency measures to deal with the crisis. public health that has spread to its northern regions, measures that would put the country in clear violation of fiscal rules in the euro area. The Eurogroup avoided approving or rejecting this plan during a teleconference held earlier this week.
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