European shares slip as virus cases surge; HSBC, Nokia slump

The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt. REUTERS

European shares opened lower on Wednesday, with banks and energy firms leading the declines as surging coronavirus infections globally dimmed the prospect of a swift economic recovery.

The pan-European STOXX 600 <.STOXX> fell 0.5% by 0714 GMT. Banks <.SX7P> and energy firms <.SXEPP> slid more than 1%.

London-listed HSBC <HSBA.L> fell 3.5% after a report said U.S. President Donald Trump’s top advisers weighed proposals to undermine the Hong Kong currency’s peg to the U.S. dollar. The proposal could possibly limit the ability of Hong Kong banks to buy dollars.

Market sentiment soured overnight on Wall Street as the U.S. coronavirus outbreak crossed a grim milestone of over 3 million confirmed cases on Tuesday, while the World Health Organization acknowledged “evidence emerging” of the airborne spread of the coronavirus.

Finland’s Nokia <NOKIA.HE> slumped 6.7% after JPMorgan downgraded its stock to “neutral” on indications of a potential loss of business with U.S. telecoms company Verizon <VZ.N>.

Europe’s home appliance maker Electrolux <ELUXb.ST> jumped 5.1% after saying that it would report a smaller loss than previously anticipated for the second quarter due to sales growth in June and cost mitigation actions.


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