European stocks slide again on pandemic fears

The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, February 25, 2020. REUTERS/Staff

(Reuters) – European shares fell again on Thursday, with travel stocks taking the biggest knock, as a jump in new coronavirus cases outside of China deepened fears of a pandemic that could dent global growth.

Multiple blue-chip companies issued profit warnings, with Standard Chartered (STAN.L) tumbling 3.4% after the Asia-focused bank said that a key earnings target would take longer to meet as the epidemic adds to headwinds in its main markets of China and Hong Kong.

The world’s largest beer maker, Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI.BR), dropped 5.6% after forecasting muted growth in 2020 due in part to the outbreak.

Governments ramped up measures to battle a looming global pandemic as the number of infections outside China for the first time surpassed those within the country.

The pan-regional STOXX 600 index fell 2.2% by 0817 GMT, bracing for its worst week since January 2016 when fears about a slowing Chinese economy and a rout in oil prices sent global markets in a tailspin.

Travel & leisure stocks .SXTP slumped 3.3%, its sixth straight session of losses, as airlines and hotel groups dropped on concerns over demand.

Weak earnings reports also dampened the mood. Advertising major WPP (WPP.L) slid 13.6% after saying it would target flat organic growth and profit margin in 2020. Shares in rival Publicis Groupe SA (PUBP.PA) fell 3.3%

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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