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European Shares Rally On Hopes Pandemic Is Slowing Down

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European stocks rose sharply on Monday as the coronavirus pandemic showed signs of peaking in continental Europe.

With 525 deaths in 24 hours, Italy on Sunday recorded its lowest death rate in the last 24 hours.

Spain, which has seen the rate of new infections and deaths slow in recent days, said it plans to widen coronavirus testing to include people without symptoms.

France's health ministry said Sunday that the daily death toll from the coronavirus fell in the past 24 hours and admissions into intensive care also slowed.

The pan European Stoxx 600 was up 2.7 percent at 317.51 after declining 1 percent in the previous session. The German DAX surged 4.1 percent, France's CAC 40 index climbed 3.5 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 was up 2.2 percent.

Petrofac gained about 2 percent. The oilfield services provider said it would reduce its personnel by 20 percent and furlough staff in anticipation of a reduction in activity levels in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and lower oil prices.

Carrier Norwegian Air lost 3 percent after its passenger volume plunged 60 percent year-on-year in March.

Finnish department store owner Stockmann slumped as much as 31 percent after announcing it had decided to file for a corporate restructuring.

Metro AG shares rose over 1 percent. The wholesale retailer has withdrawn its guidance for the financial year 2019/20 due to expected negative impact of the Covid-19 on sales and earnings in the second half of 2019/2020.

Deutsche Lufthansa jumped 8.2 percent. The airline said that its chief financial officer Ulrik Svensson will resign from the company for health reasons.

Peugeot shares surged 8 percent. Peugeot-owner PSA announced a further 3 billion euros ($3.3 billion) worth of loans on top of existing reserves of the same amount.

Smiths Group shares tumbled 3 percent as the engineering company reported a 48 percent year-on-year drop in first half pretax profit.

Rolls Royce Holdings soared nearly 16 percent as it withdrew previously announced financial guidance for 2020 due to disruption from the Covid-19 crisis.

The multinational firm said the primary impact from coronavirus has been on engine flying hours in Civil Aerospace business.

Aerospace and defense company Babcock International Group jumped 5.5 percent after saying its trading for the fourth quarter was in line with its expectations, excluding the impact of Covid-19.

In economic releases, German factory orders fell 1.4 percent month-on-month in February after rising by revised 4.8 percent in January, data from Destatis showed. Orders were expected to fall 2.5 percent.

On a yearly basis, factory orders grew 1.5 percent, in contrast to a 0.8 percent drop in January. Economists had forecast a marginal drop of 0.2 percent.

Eurozone investor confidence fell to a record low in April as the coronavirus pandemic spread across the globe, results of a survey by the behavioral research institute Sentix showed.

The Sentix investor confidence index shed 25.8 points to reach an all-time low of -42.9. Economists had forecast a reading of -30.3.

The IHS Markit / CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers' Index for March plunged to 39.3 from 52.6 in February, marking the fastest downturn in U.K. construction output for almost eleven years.

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