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CAC 40 Drifts Lower As China Virus Risks Mount

French stocks drifted lower on Thursday as deaths from China's new coronavirus rose to 17 on Wednesday, with nearly 600 cases confirmed.

Investors remain worried about the contagion as the week-long Lunar New Year holidays starts on Friday, when millions of Chinese travel domestically and abroad.

The benchmark CAC 40 index was down 16 points, or 0.28 percent, at 5,994 after declining 0.6 percent on Wednesday.

Markets await the outcome of ECB policy meeting later today, though no policy changes are expected.

Getlink declined half a percent. The company that manages and operates the Channel Tunnel between England and France said it expects revenue for the fourth quarter to fall amid Brexit uncertainty and demonstrations in France.

Total SA shares eased half a percent as oil prices hit their lowest level in seven weeks on concerns that the virus outbreak in China may dent fuel demand.

Automaker Renault tumbled 3.8 percent on news that France's anti-corruption agency was carrying out checks at the company.

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