UK markets closed

LIVE MARKETS-Coronavirus: Who's who in Wuhan

* European shares slide 1% on China virus worries

* Big earnings day in Europe

* Bank of England keeps rates steady

* Futures point to lower Wall Street open Welcome to the home for real-time coverage of European equity markets brought to you by Reuters stocks reporters and anchored today by Danilo Masoni. Reach him on Messenger to share your thoughts on market moves:


As the number of cases from new coronavirus outbreak exceeds 8,100 globally, surpassing the 2002/2003 SARS outbreak, street analysts are looking into the ripple effects from the outbreak and the lockdown in Wuhan. Supply chain is one of the key issues with Apple, Starbucks and Autoliv warning of potential disruptions.

The ongoing lockdown of Wuhan -- home to more than 11 million people -- is likely to have a global impact on supply chain, Credit Suisse says, given its importance as Central China's main industrial and commercial center and an important transport hub.

In the automobile space, Wuhan was forecast to produce 1.6 million units, according to IHS. Automakers Nissan, Honda, GM, Peugeot and Renault have manufacturing facilities there.

"Clearly the scale of the impact grows as the lockdown period is extended," CS adds.

And these issues in turn hurt shipping companies such as Maersk, Kuehne & Nagel and DSV. In the logistics space, Deutsche Post's DHL is the most geographically exposed, sourcing 17% of its revenue from the APAC region.

(Thyagaraju Adinarayan)



BoE's departing Mark Carney earned his 'unreliable boyfriend' nickname by failing to smoothly guide investors towards his rate decisions.

With the market completely split on today's move, Carney was bound, one way of the other, to disappoint.

That sure did happen on the equity side when rates remained on hold.

Both the FTSE 100 and the FTSE 250 suffered.

Blue chips had a knee-jerk reaction to the surging pound and fell to session lows while mid caps also fell to their lowest level of the day, missing out on the monetary boost.

(Julien Ponthus)



Another sign that investors are not quite ready to turn bearish is how value stocks keep on underperforming.

"Global value stocks now stand at a record low versus their growth counterparts, having underperformed for the whole of last year and into this year", UBS analysts write in their daily House View.

While value stocks are typical safe havens when things turn sour, the fact they are so out of style might be trying to tell us something.

Anyhow, UBS believes the right way forward for a sluggish economy and 'lower-for-long' monetary policies is to go for high-quality and high-dividend.

"The former tends to perform better than the overall market when the economy grows below trend or slows down, while the latter is a key investment strategy when rates are low".

Here's value in the last two years:

(Julien Ponthus)



Utilities aren't the sexiest industry on the market but over the last month or so they had returns similar to the high-flying FANGs on Wall Street, if not even higher.

Surely, worries over economic growth are pushing investors into old-fashioned bond proxies but perhaps there more into it, as climate change fosters huge transformations in the industry and reshapes the whole economy.

Utilities are the only sector rising this morning in Europe, and their year-to-date rally means that over the last 2 years they are outperforming the NYSE FANG+, an index that gives exposure to highly-traded growth tech stocks.

This month Goldman Sachs said the EU's plan to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 could fuel 7 trillion euros of investments with utilities accounting for nearly half of that.

GS sees a possible strong rerating for the firms it defines as a "Climate Champion" (Orsted , RWE, EDP Enel, EDPR, and IBE).

According to Barclays, utilities exposure moved up noticeably in the last couple of months with funds overweight the sector reaching the highest in five years, at 31%.

Watch this space!

(Danilo Masoni)



A little less than two hours ahead of the BoE's rate decision, investors are still completely and almost perfectly divided about the outcome.

That's right it's really a 50/50 flip-the-coin thing.

"I can’t recall the last time we have gone into a BoE monetary policy decision with the market as divided on what the outcome will be", wrote Derek Halpenny in MUFG Bank's FX Daily Snapshot note.

"This is certainly not akin to the way in which either the Fed or the ECB like to go into a monetary policy decision", he also said.

What could this rare situation mean as to the decision that will be taken?

"It does suggest that the lack of attempt to shift the market one way or the other reflects the fact that the MPC is truly divided on this and we may well therefore see a split decision today on either a vote to cut or remain on hold", Derek Halpenny argued.

(Julien Ponthus and Tommy Reggiori Wilkes)



There's like a perfect storm brewing between disappointing Q4 earnings and the coronavirus scare spooking markets, but it wouldn't be complete without a touch of macro gloom.

The mighty U.S. recession omen, the yield curve, has inverted again this morning.

U.S. 10-year Treasury yields fell to 1.55% their lowest levels since early October and were below yields on the three-month benchmark notes.

10-year and 3-month yields are currently dancing a tango-like dance, inverting in and out and playing with investors nerves.

While an inverted yield curve is usually seen as an advanced indicator of a looming recession, there's a case it may actually tell us more about the fear investors bestow on the virus rather than the health of the U.S. economy.

Anyhow, there's no way to look at the inversion as a good thing is there?

(Dhara Ranasinghe and Julien Ponthus)



There's little to say about today's open except that it's a sea of red!

Coronavirus fears are back to haut investors and Q4 results are failing to provide any meaningful support, quite the opposite!

All indexes and sub-sectors are trading in negative territory with the pan-regional STOXX 600 benchmark falling nearly 1%. 91% of the index's constituents are lower.

Here's your opening snapshot

Among the few winners are fashion retailer Stockholm-listed H&M and Volvo following strong updates, while in Helsinki Nokian is in demand on reports of activist investor Elliot building a stake in the tyremaker.

Shell, Swatch and Roche are all down after their updates.

(Danilo Masoni)



There was no Fed change overnight to counter concerns over damage from the spreading new China virus and after a two-day bounce European shares are set to resume their slide from record levels. Futures were around -1%.

More Q4 earnings will also be on the radar and Deutsche Bank posting a larger-than-expected annual loss, its fifth in a row as Germany's top bank undergoes a costly overhaul, isn't exactly a good start to the day.

Its shares were down more than 4% in early trade. That further dampens hopes the battered rate-sensitive sector could stage a recovery this year as its cheap valuation offsets continued pressure from negative rates.

A mixed earnings showing from the seemingly unstoppable Wall Street winners overnight isn't going to help the mood. Facebook shares fell 7% in extended trading as quarterly revenue growth slowed to 25%, its slowest rate ever, in what could weigh on European tech, but Tesla rose 13% after the electric carmaker posted another quarterly profit and brokers scrambled to make big target increases. Also Microsoft beat expectations.

Back to Europe, Swatch results are going to be a big dampener for the luxury sector, whose big exposure to China has made it particularly vulnerable the coronavirus scare and the Hong Kong unrest.

The world's No.1 watchmaker said expects sales to fall further in Hong Kong. Its shares were seen opening down 4-5% and drag lower rival Richemont.

Supportive news instead for the automotive sector -- the worst performer year to date amid worries over slowing growth and higher U.S. tariffs. Volvo delivered strong results and payout plan and reports said activist investor Elliot has built a stake in tyremaker Nokian . Their shares are both seen rising more than 3% at the open.

Eyes also on Unilever after a slightly better-than-expected rise in quarterly sales, and Royal Dutch Shell's following a bigger-than-expected 50% drop in Q4 profit.

Other stock movers: Roche 2019 net profit rises by a third, forecasts 2020 growth; Diageo reports marginal rise in first-half profit; BT misses third quarter forecast; H&M delivers first annual profit rise since 2015; Siemens Gamesa cuts profitability target for second time in 3 months

(Danilo Masoni)



There was no Fed surprise overnight to counter worries over the spreading coronavirus outbreak and with a rising death toll and new cases outside China, equities in Europe look set to track Asian shares lower today, snapping a two-day bounce.

Spreadbetters at IG expect London's FTSE to open 41 points lower at 7,483, Frankfurt's DAX to open 103 points further down at 13,345 and Paris' CAC to open 44 points lower at 5,954.

More Q4 earnings will also be under the spotlight and Deutsche Bank posting a larger-than-expected loss isn't exactly the best way to start the day with.

A knife-edge BoE decision could also have an impact later on with investors split over the chance that the central bank will cut rates for the first time in more than 3 years, just on the day before the UK leaves the EU.

(Danilo Masoni)


(Reporting by Danilo Masoni, Joice Alves, Julien Ponthus and Thyagaraju Adinarayan)