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European Shares Set To Extend Losses

european market 021219 19mar20 lt

European stocks look set to extend recent losses on Thursday despite the
European Central Bank (ECB) announcing the launch of a €750 billion ($820 billion) emergency bond purchase scheme.

"Extraordinary times require extraordinary action. There are no limits to our commitment to the euro," ECB chief Christine Lagarde tweeted.

However, the ECB said the so-called Pandemic Emergency Purchase Program is temporary and will be halted when the coronavirus crisis is judged to be over.

Soon after the ECB announcement, French President Emmanuel Macron called for more fiscal action from leaders.

In another development, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation on Wednesday providing billions of dollars to limit the damage from the coronavirus pandemic through free testing, paid sick leave and expanded safety-net spending.

Asian markets continued their relentless march downward and the dollar surged as the virus accelerated its spread worldwide, with more than 200,000 infections and killing almost 9,000 people.

Italy reported the largest single-day death toll from coronavirus since the outbreak began in China in late 2019.

Philippine shares plunged by nearly 25 percent only moments after the Manila stock exchange resumed trade after a two-day halt.

The Australian Central Bank lowered its interest rate to 0.25 percent - it's lowest ever as the coronavirus pandemic threatens to drag the country into its first recession since the early 1990s.

Germany announced €1 billion ($1.1 billion) in credit for businesses and companies of all sizes through its state-owned KfW business development bank.

Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said on Wednesday that the central bank is ready to what it takes to support the economy amid the severe shock caused by the spread of the coronavirus, and urged short-sellers to just "stop".

Gold dipped on a firmer dollar, while crude oil prices rebounded after dropping to a more than 18-year low on Wednesday amid worries about an imminent recession due to the coronavirus outbreak and a price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia following disagreement about production cuts in the recent concluded OPEC+ meeting.

Overnight, U.S. stocks tumbled again as the number of coronavirus infections kept climbing, creating more uncertainty about how badly the economy is getting hit. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped 6.3 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite shed 4.7 percent and the S&P 500 lost 5.2 percent.

European markets tanked on Wednesday as mounting fears about an imminent recession outweighed stimulus announcements from governments and central banks.

The pan European Stoxx 600 gave up 3.9 percent. The German DAX plunged 5.6 percent, France's CAC 40 index plummeted 5.9 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 declined 4.1 percent.

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