Europe Markets

Europe stocks sink on fears coronavirus is spreading in Italy; airlines lead losses

Key Points
  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed down 3.8% provisionally, with travel and leisure stocks tumbling over 6%.
  • A seventh person infected with the coronavirus died in Italy on Monday, local media reported, while the number of confirmed cases rose to more than 220 in the country.
  • Iran and South Korea have also seen a sharp rise in cases of the virus.

European stocks closed sharply lower Monday as investors monitored the continuing spread of the coronavirus beyond China.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed down 3.8% provisionally, with travel and leisure stocks tumbling over 6% to lead losses as all sectors slid sharply into the red. Italy's FTSE MIB was down more than 1,350 points, or 5.5%. The country reported a sharp spike in coronavirus cases over the weekend.

Coronavirus concerns continue to dominate headlines around the world, and there are widespread concerns over the spread of the virus in northern Italy. A seventh person infected with the coronavirus died in Italy on Monday, local media reported, while the number of confirmed cases rose to more than 220 in the country.

The government has placed a dozen towns in the north under quarantine and closed down schools, museums and cinemas while other public events, including soccer matches, have been cancelled and the Venice Carnival cut short.

Iran and South Korea have also seen a sharp rise in cases of the virus. More than 79,400 cases and at least 2,621 deaths have been confirmed worldwide.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average sank almost 900 points as traders monitored the spread of the virus.

On the data front, a closely-watched German business climate index from the Ifo Institute on Monday showed business sentiment in the country improving in February, rising to 96.1 from 96.0 in January, to defy consensus forecasts for a fall to 95.3.

Stocks suffering

Airline stocks took the worst of Monday's losses. EasyJet stock plummeted 16.5% and Ryanair 13%, closely followed by a 9% drop for British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines Group.

Meanwhile, Tour operator Tui tumbled 10% while German events company CTS Eventim dropped 10.6%.