European Shares Set To Drift Lower On Virus Jitters

European stocks look set to open deep in the red on Tuesday after the World Health Organization chief warned that “the worst is yet ahead of us” in the coronavirus outbreak.

Asian markets fell sharply to extend declines from the previous session as investors assessed the implications of an historic tumble in crude oil prices.

U.S. crude prices bounced back into positive territory after crashing below $0.00 for the first time owing to crippled demand and a storage glut.

The dollar rose against key rivals after reports that the White House and congressional leaders are “down to the fine print” in their negotiations to increase funding for small U.S businesses.

The dollar is also benefiting from reports suggesting that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was in critical condition after undergoing cardiovascular surgery last week.

The global Covid-19 death toll has topped 170,000, with the U.S. accounting for the highest number of infections and fatalities in the world, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

Meanwhile, Italy for the first time recorded a fall in its total active Covid-19 infections on Monday, while Spain saw its lowest single-day fatalities in the past four weeks.

Economic confidence survey results from Germany and labor market statistics from the U.K. are due later in the session, headlining a busy day for the European economic news. Across the Atlantic, a report on existing home sales is scheduled to be released.

U.S. stocks fell overnight to finish near session lows after May oil futures took historic plunge to end at negative-$37.63 a barrel and reports suggested that Senators were in a deadlock over potential additional emergency funds for small businesses.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 2.4 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite shed 1 percent and the S&P 500 lost 1.8 percent.

After the closing bell, IBM reported a drop in first-quarter revenue and withdrew its 2020 profit forecast.

European markets closed slightly higher amid signs that coronavirus infections have peaked in parts of the world.

The pan European Stoxx 600 advanced 0.7 percent. The German DAX and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 rose about half a percent, while France’s CAC 40 index gained 0.7 percent.

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