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European Shares Subdued As Chinese Virus Fears Mount

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European stocks were mostly lower on Thursday as investors continued to fret over the potential fallout from the outbreak of a new coronavirus that has been spreading in China and other countries.

Deaths from the virus 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.

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

The pan European Stoxx 600 dropped 0.15 percent to 422.44 after declining 0.1 percent in the previous session.

The German DAX gave up 0.4 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 slid 0.2 percent, while France's CAC 40 index was marginally higher, reversing early losses.

Miners paced the decliners, with Antofagasta down 2.5 percent and Glencore losing 1.4 percent.

Anglo American declined 1.1 percent. The company said that its fourth-quarter copper equivalent production increased 4 percent led by the continued successful ramp-up at Minas-Rio in Brazil.

Energy stocks such as BP Plc, Royal Dutch Shell and Tullow Oil held steady despite oil prices falling to their lowest in seven weeks on concerns that the virus outbreak may dent fuel demand.

Infrastructure company John Laing Group lost 2.3 percent. The company announced that Chief Executive Officer Olivier Brousse has tendered his resignation in order to take up a senior position at Veolia Group.

Daily Mail And General shed 0.9 percent. The media company said that its first-quarter Group revenue declined 4 percent from last year, while underlying revenue increased 1 percent, in line with expectations.

Semiconductor company STMicroelectronics NV jumped as much as 7 percent. The company's quarterly profit fell year-on-year, but beat analyst estimates. Revenue for the fourth quarter increased 4 percent to $2.75 billion.

German construction major Hochtief slumped 6.2 percent. The company announced that it plans to recognise a one-off, post-tax, impact of around 0.8 billion euros in fiscal 2019 as part of the plan by its 72.8 percent-owned unit CIMIC Group to exit the Middle East region.

Automakers BMW and Daimler were down around half a percent after U.S. President Donald Trump renewed his threat to put hefty tariffs on European cars if the bloc doesn't agree to a trade deal.

Renault tumbled 4.3 percent on news that France's anti-corruption agency was carrying out checks at the company.

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