UPDATE 2-European shares slide on rise in coronavirus cases, weak U.S. data

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
UPDATE 2-European shares slide on rise in coronavirus cases, weak U.S. data
Credit: © Reuters.

(For a live blog on European stocks, type LIVE/ in an Eikon news window)

* Auto, oil and gas sectors lead losses

* Coronavirus cases rie in China, Japan, South Korea

* U.S. business activity in stalls in February

* STOXX 600 ends week 0.6% lower

* French consultancy Sopra Steria tops STOXX 600 (Updates to close)

By Susan Mathew

Feb 21 (Reuters) - European shares fell on Friday after data showing stalling business activity in the United States exacerbated a fall spurred by a spike in the number of coronavirus cases within and outside China.

Investors worry about a prolonged impact to business after China reported an uptick in cases of the virus on Friday and South Korea reported 100 new cases, while more than 80 people tested positive for the virus in Japan. pan-European STOXX 600 index .STOXX shed 0.5%, ending a volatile week 0.6% lower after two weeks of gains.

On the day, STOXX 600 deepened losses after a survey showed the U.S. services sector dropped to its lowest level since October 2013 in February, signalling a contraction for the first time since 2016, while the manufacturing sector also clocked its lowest reading since August. was preceded by similar data from the euro zone that showed business activity expanded at a better-than-expected pace, although expansion remained slow. market is beginning to wake up to the idea that we're going to be seeing bad numbers which are going to be replicated elsewhere," said Jonathan Bell, chief investment officer at Stanhope Capital.

"With the next set of PMIs (in Europe) we'll likely see levels we haven't since the depths of the global financial crisis."

Europe's main index had scaled record highs earlier in the week as data signalled a slight slowdown in the outbreak, lending weight to forecasts that the crisis might blow over by April.

The outbreak has killed more than 2,000 people and upended industrial activity in China, causing disruptions for several European manufacturers that supply and source products from one of the EU's largest trading partners.

Auto stocks .SXAP led losses, down 1.9% in their worst session in four weeks.

With losses of more than 8% so far this year, the sector is the worst performing among major sectors in Europe, steepening losses since the outbreak as Hubei - the epicenter of the epidemic in China - is an auto manufacturing hub.

Frankfurt's main index .GDAXI , stacked with car and truck makers, dropped 0.6%.

A slide in oil prices knocked the energy sector .SXEP .

Among technology stocks .SX8P , software firm SAP SAPG.DE lost 1.3%, while chipmakers AMS AG AMS.S , STMicroelectronics STM.MI and ASML ASML.AS all fell more than 0.9%.

Among individual movers, British luxury brand Burberry Group BRBY.L fell 2.6% after Jefferies cut the stock's price target, saying it was one of the most exposed brands to the coronavirus outbreak. consultancy Sopra Steria Group SA SOPR.PA topped the STOXX 600 after it reported strong annual results and announced plans to buy software developer Sodifrance SA SDIF.PA .

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