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CAC 40 Drifts Lower On Virus Worries

French stocks fell on Thursday after the number of deaths and new cases from China's coronavirus outbreak rose dramatically - fueling speculation that the severity of the outbreak has been under-reported.

However, officials in Hubei said they were broadening their definition for COVID-19 cases by including people "clinically diagnosed" with the virus in the daily tally.

The benchmark CAC 40 was down 22 points, or 0.36 percent, at 6,082 after closing up 0.8 percent on Wednesday.

Automobile companies, which have heavy exposure to China, were moving lower. Renault lost 3.4 percent and Peugeot fell 2.2 percent.

Airbus rose 0.9 percent. The planemaker announced that it has increased its stake in the A220 jetliner to 75 percent.

Capgemini, a consulting, technology and outsourcing services firm, fell 2.8 percent after unveiling its fiscal 2019 results.

Energy management firm Schneider Electric rose slightly. The company announced its intention to launch a voluntary public tender offer to acquire RIB Software for 29 euros per share.

Telecommunications operator Orange SA gained 2.3 percent after reporting a rise in fiscal year 2019 profit.

Drinks company Pernod Ricard SA rose over 3 percent despite the company trimming its annual operating profit goal.

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