European shares dip as virus fears intensify


European shares fell for the second straight session on Monday, as fears about the economic hit from the coronavirus pandemic intensified with several nations extending near-total lockdowns to curtail the spread of the flu-like disease.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was down 0.8 per cent at 07.14 GMT, with energy, industrials and travel and leisure stocks leading declines.

The banking sector tumbled another 2.5 percent, bringing its monthly losses to more than 28 percent, with UniCredit, ING and ABN Amro among the first set of lenders to comply with the ECB’s appeal to freeze dividends in a bid to shore up credit.

In fresh signs of the business impact from the outbreak, Swiss engineering group ABB fell 5.7 percent after issuing a profit warning and saying all of its businesses would suffer in the first quarter.