Europe tumbles again as travel stocks pummelled
European shares resumed their slide on Friday as fears that the global spread of the coronavirus could trigger more curbs hit travel stocks, with the mood darkened by no new orders for planemaker Airbus last month.
The pan-European STOXX 600 fell 2.5%, wiping out this week’s gains following the U.S. Federal Reserve’s emergency 50 basis point interest rate cut to shield the economy from the economic impact of the virus.
The travel & leisure index tumbled 3.8%, trading firmly in bear market territory, seen as a 20% drop from recent peak.
“If this really ramps up, we could see a lot more kitchen- sinking updates from the travel industry and airlines,” said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG.
“What’s impressive about the current move is it probably understates the degree of disruption we could be facing across the U.S. and Europe.”
The epidemic could rob passenger airlines of up to $113 billion in revenue this year, the International Air Transport Association warned on Thursday.
Planemaker Airbus skidded 4.8% as it failed to win any new aircraft orders in February, further evidence of disruption across aviation industries due to the outbreak.
Miners, automakers, oil& gas companies and banking <.SX7P> sectors were trading in bear market.
Deutsche Bank fell 3.9% and Commerzbank slid 5.8% as the flight to safety pushed Germany’s benchmark 10-year Bund yield to a six-month low, within striking distance of last year’s record lows.
The outbreak spread across the United States, surfacing in at least four new states on Thursday, while the UK recorded its first death.
The death toll in Italy, Europe’s worst-hit country, rose by 41 over the past 24 hours to 148, and the government said it would double the money pledged to help the economy cope with the epidemic.
Investors have almost fully priced in a 10 basis points cut by the European Central Bank next week. However, a recent Reuters poll of economists showed the ECB will not cut rates, underscoring the central bank’s limited policy options, given its deposit rate is already at a negative 0.50%.
Among other stocks, Italy’s Atlantia slid 6% after its motorway unit delayed the release of its 2019 results to give it more time to evaluate the impact of a new rule that changes the terms of its concession.
Infineon Technologies AG fell 2.5% after reports U.S. officials recommended blocking the German chipmaker’ s proposed $10 billion deal to buy Cypress Semiconductor Corp on security risks.