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European Shares Extend Losses On Fears Over Spreading Virus

asianmarket 021219 21feb20 lt

European stocks fell on Friday to extend losses from the previous session as a sudden rise in the number of coronavirus infections outside of China dented investors' appetite for riskier assets.

China's commerce ministry said January and February exports and imports will be hit by the epidemic that has severely disrupted the world's second-largest economy.

Closer home, the IHS Markit flash eurozone manufacturing purchasing managers index rose to a 12-month high of 49.1 in February from 47.9 in January, while the services PMI rose to a two-month high of 52.8 from 52.5.

U.K. Markit's manufacturing PMI beat expectations with a score of 51.9, while the services PMI missed expectations with a score of 53.3 points.

The pan European Stoxx 600 was down 0.4 percent at 428.56 after losing 0.9 percent in the previous session.

The German DAX slid 0.2 percent, while France's CAC 40 index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 shed around half a percent each.

Sika, a Swiss specialty chemicals company, was marginally higher after reporting a rise in FY19 profit and lifting dividend.

German insurance and asset management company Allianz SE rose about 1 percent. The company lifted its 2020 operating profit view after fourth-quarter net income attributable to shareholders rose 9.5 percent to 1.86 billion euros from last year's 1.70 billion euros.

Hospital operator Rhoen-Klinikum AG fell nearly 2 percent. The company said its fiscal 2019 net consolidated profit declined, as expected, to 44.5 million euros from 51.2 million euros in the previous year.

Kingspan Group, a provider of high-performance insulation and building envelope solutions, rallied 2.1 percent after its full-year profit rose to 369.4 million euros from 330.9 million euros last year.

Publishing and education firm Pearson tumbled 3.7 percent as its annual profit more than halved.

Hammerson advanced 1.4 percent after the property development and investment company announced the disposal of a seven-unit retail park portfolio.

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