European markets open sharply down as coronavirus fears take hold

European markets open sharply down as coronavirus fears take hold

European stock indices took a sharp tumble in morning trading on Monday, falling by as much as 10 per cent in crisis-hit Italy, as the coronavirus outbreak that has paralysed certain regions triggers fears of economic recession, dpa reported.

Italy is so far the worst-hit country in the Europe, with around 7,375 confirmed cases and 366 deaths, according to the Civil Protection Agency.

The Borsa Italiana’s key FTSE MIB index was trading down by 9.69 per cent at 18,783.48 points shortly after 10 am (0900 GMT), after recovering some of the losses that pushed the plunge into double figures.

In Germany, where health authorities have reported over 1,100 cases of infection, the DAX index of 30 blue-chip companies fell by 6.68 per cent by that time to 10,763.11 points.

London’s key FTSE 100 index lost more than 8 per cent in early trading on Monday, before recovering some of its losses to sit as 6,077.16 points, down 6.07 per cent.

The Paris stock exchange’s CAC 40 index of blue chip shares tumbled 7.27 per cent by around 10 am, to 4,772.69.

As of 8 am on Monday, France had recorded 1,126 coronavirus cases and 19 deaths.

The main index on the Vienna stock exchange dropped by as much as 8 per cent in the first hour of trading.

The Warsaw Stock Exchange followed in the footsteps of major markets, with its large-cap index WIG20 down by nearly 7 per cent at one point. The index hovered at around 1,650 points, levels last seen in April 2009, before recovering slightly in late morning trade.

Markets in the Nordic region plunged into the red on Monday in opening trading.

In Oslo, the main index fell 12 per cent at the opening, its largest fall since 1987, and by mid-morning was down almost 7 per cent.

The Stockholm bourse general index OMX30 was down 5 per cent, with falls for banking shares, among others.

The general index for the Copenhagen bourse, OMX Copenhagen 20 and the Helsinki OMXH25 were also in negative territory.