European markets react to coronavirus, oil price fears


European markets are set to open in positive territory on Wednesday, apparently defying widespread concerns over the coronavirus outbreak and a slump in oil prices.

London’s FTSE is seen opening 32 points higher at 5,677, Germany’s DAX is seen 34 points higher at 10,292, France’s CAC is expected to open 11 points higher at 4,375 and Italy’s FTSE MIB is seen 78 points higher at 16,449, according to IG.

Markets in Asia were trading lower Wednesday afternoon on the back of sharp losses in the oil markets overnight, with international Brent crude futures plunging 13.76% to $16.67 a barrel, having declined from levels above $24 a barrel on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the June contract for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) declined further as it dropped 5.96% to $10.88 a barrel, after falling more than 40% on Tuesday. U.S. crude prices have seen sharp losses in recent days due to a slump in demand and oversupply amid the coronavirus outbreak.

In the U.S., the pandemic continues to take its toll and White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Deborah Birx warned on Tuesday that Americans should prepare to see more deaths from the coronavirus pandemic, particularly in cities.

Meanwhile in China, the country’s National Health Commission (NHC) said there were 30 new confirmed cases as of April 21, of which 23 were attributed to travelers coming from overseas. That brings the country’s total to 82,788 cases, the NHC said. There were no new deaths reported.

On the data front in Europe on Wednesday, flash consumer confidence data from the euro zone for April is released. Earnings come from Heineken, AkzoNobel, Hermes and Roche, among others.

–  CNBC’s Weizhen Tan, Berkeley Lovelace Jnr. and Eustance Huang contributed reporting to this story.


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