Stocks, shares fall in Europe as virus flares

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Stock markets in Europe slipped further on Tuesday as investors reacted to nations implementing new lockdown measures to counter the resurgence of the novel coronavirus.

A street cleaning operative walks past the London Stock Exchange Group building in the City of London financial district, Britain, March 9, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

  Investors fear new lockdown measures will hurt some companies, close others

  Stock markets in Europe slipped further on Tuesday as investors reacted to nations implementing new lockdown measures to counter the resurgence of the novel coronavirus.

  An update from Europe's largest software company SAP saw its share price plunge 22 percent. The German company warned that its customers, including many of the world's largest corporations, were cutting costs on fears of more chaos ahead.

  The region-wide Stoxx 600 index lost 1.8 percent on Monday and a further 0.7 percent on Tuesday, and Germany's Dax index fell another 0.7 percent after dipping 3.7 percent on Monday as blue-chip stocks saw heavy falls.

  Italy and Spain both reintroduced tougher social restrictions to control the COVID-19 surge on Sunday. Spanish stock markets fell 1.4 percent and the Milan exchange in Italy closed down 1.8 percent.

  President Emmanuel Macron of France extended a curfew on major cities, and shares in Paris dropped 1.9 percent. Aviation and aerospace shares dragged down London's FTSE 100 index, which lost 1.2 percent and shed 17.4 billion pounds ($22.7 billion) of value.

  Rolls-Royce, whose earnings are tied to the number of hours its jet engines are in the air, lost 7.2 percent, and British Airways owner IAG lost 7.6 percent.

  The Daily Telegraph reported that banks, manufacturers, travel and leisure industries had all been hit by fears that strict new social rules will batter their profits and make recovery impossible.

  Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel, is planning a nationwide "lockdown light" that could force the closure of bars, restaurants and public events to slow down a second wave of infections, according to the Bild newspaper.

  Additional curbs in Europe's largest economy will be decided on Wednesday, when Merkel will push for the measures in a meeting with the nation's regional leaders.

  It comes as a scientific advisor to the French government said the country may be experiencing 100,000 new COVID-19 cases per day, or twice the latest official figure.

  Jean-François Delfraissy, who heads the scientific council, told RTL radio on Monday that there are "probably more than 50,000 cases per day" but maybe more.

  He said: "We estimate, on the scientific committee, that we are more in the region of 100,000 cases per day."

  The mayor of Liverpool has said he could support a move to place the city in northern England into a new harsher Tier 4 lockdown to halt the spread.

  Joe Anderson, a Labour politician, lost his own brother to the virus less than two weeks ago. He said he is not opposed to the introduction of "tougher measures if necessary".

  The United Kingdom government is considering adding a fourth tier to the top of its current three-level system, similar to the one operating in Scotland.

  Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Anderson said: "If anything was required to bring it down faster I would do that."

  British pharmacy chain Boots has announced that a COVID-19 test that can provide a result in 12 minutes will be made available in its stores next month.

  The technology, developed by LumiraDx, analyses a nose swab sample, via a small, portable machine. The test will cost 120 pounds and is aimed at those not showing symptoms for "peace of mind".

  Figures last week showed just 15.1 percent of people receive results within 24 hours through the UK's official testing system.

  The latest data from researchers working on the Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine shows that it produces a "strong" immune response among the elderly.

  Findings showed similar responses across all age groups, in results that have been hailed as a "milestone" in the fight against the pandemic.

By JONATHAN POWELL in London | China Daily Global | Updated: 2020-10-28 09:34