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European Shares Set To Extend Losses As Virus Worries Mount

stockmarkets aug16 26feb20 lt

European stocks look set to open lower on Wednesday as new coronavirus cases in South Korea jumped again and the first U.S. military soldier tested positive.

Authorities in South Korea reported 169 new infections, taking the overall tally to 1,146, by far the largest outside China. Ninety percent of the new infections were in Daegu, the country's fourth-largest city and the epicenter of the outbreak, and the neighboring province of North Gyeongsang.

An American soldier stationed in South Korea became the first service member to test positive for the coronavirus, according to a U.S. Forces Korea statement. He is currently self-quarantined at his off-base residence.

The virus has killed 2,715 people and infected over 78,000 in China. In the rest of the world, there have been more than 40 deaths and 2,700 cases.

Iran reported 15 deaths out of nearly 100 infections. The country's deputy health minister confirmed that he has tested positive for the new deadly virus.

Italy reported a 45 percent one-day increase in people infected with the disease as several European countries announced their first coronavirus cases.

Asian markets continued to pull back, with benchmark indexes in South Korea, Japan and Australia falling 1-2 percent.

The U.S. dollar slipped while gold headed back towards a more-than seven-year high hit earlier this week.

Oil prices rose on short covering after tumbling overnight on concerns about the outlook for energy demand due to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on global growth.

Consumer confidence survey data from France is due later in the session, headlining a light day for the European economic news.

Overnight, U.S. stocks fell for the fourth straight session as the coronavirus spread to new countries including Spain and Romania, and officials said it was
"a rapidly escalating epidemic."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 3.2 percent to its lowest closing level in nearly four months, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite plummeted 2.8 percent and the S&P 500 slumped 3 percent.

European markets gave up early gains to end sharply lower on Tuesday amid concerns over the spread of the coronavirus in Italy and across the world.

The pan European Stoxx 600 lost 1.8 percent. The German DAX, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 and France's CAC 40 index all tumbled around 1.9 percent.

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