Markets

Europe markets close mixed as traders weigh earnings, coronavirus; RBS falls 7%

Key Points
  • China's National Health Commission on Friday reported an additional 121 deaths and 5,090 new cases of the coronavirus across the mainland for Feb. 13.
  • AstraZeneca shares fell 4% after it said its 2020 sales growth would take a hit from the coronavirus.
  • And RBS shares sank 6% after it scaled back its returns target and slashed its investment back.

European markets closed mixed Friday as investors monitored China's coronavirus epidemic and a slew of corporate earnings.

The pan-European Euro Stoxx 600 index closed provisionally slightly lower with major bourses and sectors pointing in different directions.

China's National Health Commission on Friday reported an additional 121 deaths and 5,090 new cases of the coronavirus across the mainland for Feb. 13.

China's health commission said Friday it removed 108 deaths from the total figure due to a double-count in Hubei province, the epicenter of the global coronavirus outbreak. The pneumonia-causing virus has killed a total of 1,380 people in mainland China as of the end of Thursday, the commission said in its Chinese-language daily online report.

Globally, market participants are monitoring the outbreak and updates on how badly it could dent growth in the world's second-largest economy

On Wall Street, equities traded along the flatline with investors digesting the release of disappointing consumer data and strong earnings.

Back in Europe, Rishi Sunak was announced as Britain's new finance minister on Thursday, taking over from Sajid Javid who resigned amid a reshaping of the government orchestrated by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The FTSE 100 was down around 0.6%.

On the data front, euro zone economic growth slowed as expected in the last quarter of 2019 with a figure of 0.1%. A figure for Germany earlier in the session showed its economy stagnated during the fourth quarter of last year.

Meanwhile, earnings were a major focus for European investors. Renault shares fell slightly after reporting a surprise 2019 loss.

AstraZeneca shares were down 4% after it said its 2020 sales growth would take a hit from the coronavirus. And RBS shares sank 7% after it scaled back its returns target and slashed its investment back.