European Shares Little Changed As Virus Toll Surges

European stocks were little changed in cautious trade on Thursday as coronavirus infections around the world approached one million.

The pan European Stoxx 600 was virtually unchanged at 310.73 after plummeting 2.9 percent on Wednesday. The German DAX traded flat while France’s CAC 40 index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 were up around 0.2 percent.

BP Plc shares soared 7 percent and Royal Dutch Shell climbed 8.6 percent as oil prices rose about 8 percent on hopes of a truce in the Saudi-Russia oil price war.

Recruitment firm Hays plunged 7.6 percent after announcing it will issue
£200m of shares in an emergency move.

Energy and services firm Centrica slumped 6.7 percent after withdrawing its
2020 Group AOCF guidance.

Segro rose about 1 percent. The real estate investment trust reported that its
trading in the early part of 2020, prior to onset of the Covid-19 situation, was encouraging and that rent roll growth was tracking ahead of expectations due to new lettings and pre-lets.

International Consolidated Airlines Group shares jumped 3.5 percent. According to the BBC, British Airways will furlough up to 36,000 staff, due to the escalating coronavirus or Covid-19 crisis.

Bouygues Group advanced 4 percent. The industrial group, said, based on new circumstances and the contribution of the construction businesses, the current crisis will have a significant impact on the Group’s results in 2020.

The guidance for the Group, the construction businesses and TF1 cannot be achieved, the company said in a statement.

Credit Agricole gained 2 percent as it cancelled the 2019 dividend following a recommendation from the European Central Bank

Antofagasta was little changed. The mining giant said, to date, the impact on production from COVID-19 has been limited.

In economic releases, Eurozone producer prices declined at a faster pace in February, data from Eurostat showed. The producer price index decreased 1.3 percent year-on-year in February, following a 0.7 percent decline in January. Economists had expected a 0.8 percent fall.

Spain has shed close to 900,000 jobs, more than half of them temporary, since it went into lockdown in mid-March to fight the coronavirus outbreak, social security data showed today as the country’s death toll surpassed China’s.

The U.S. Labor Department’s report on weekly jobless claims will provide a more updated look at the employment situation in the world’s largest economy later in the day.

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