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LIVE MARKETS-Cracks in the 'bottoming up' narrative

* Stocks under pressure on Coronavirus cases in UK, Italy

* STOXX 600 down 0.3%, FTSE 100 falls 0.7%

* Italy's cabinet declares a state of emergency

* Euro zone GDP data disappoints

* Spain's Caixabank falls, Banco Sabadell rises after results Welcome to the home for real-time coverage of European equity markets brought to you by Reuters stocks reporters and anchored today by Joice Alves. Reach her on Messenger to share your thoughts on market moves: joice.alves.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net


CRACKS IN THE 'BOTTOMING UP' NARRATIVE (1340 GMT)

There's just no way around it: this morning's euro zone data was truly grim.

Not only did the bloc miss expectations but both France and Italy shocked investors with their GDP actually contracting in Q4.

One of the rare glimpses of light in 2019 was the Gallic relative economic performance but there's fear that the social unrest against the pension reform has undermined that.

"In France, the unexpected GDP contraction of 0.1% q/q marked the end of the country’s resilience to the bloc’s slowdown during much of last year", Oxford Economics' Rosie Colthorpe wrote in a note.

While the contraction may very well be a one-off, it will no doubt fuel some worries among economists.

Many bullish strategies regarding European equities have been based on European PMIs improving but there are now evidently cracks in that narrative.

"We still think growth should gradually improve this year as the manufacturing sector bottoms out, although annual GDP growth will slip to 1%", Colthorpe believes for her part.

While she's not alone in that view, there's no shortage of analysts who believe the coronavirus outbreak and the trade tensions with the U.S. might weigh on any recovery.

"Escalating trade tensions between the US and the EU are a risk to economic growth in the Eurozone", Rabobank noted.

Anyhow, talking about long term economic performance and as it is Brexit day, here's an interesting chart by DWS which shows how Britain's outperformance since it joined the EU:


(Julien Ponthus)

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UK'S FIRST CORONAVIRUS CASES KILL TENTATIVE REBOUND (1107 GMT)

Well that rebound didn't last long, did it?

About an hour and a half into the trading session, the announcement of the UK's first two virus cases killed a modest, timid and definitely tentative rebound.

"Stocks in mainland Europe are broadly lower too as the deepening health crisis continues to chip away at market confidence", wrote David Madden at CMC Markets.

As some traders also note, there was also a big batch of gloomy macro which didn't help, notably with euro zone economic growth slower than expected in Q4 and France's GDP shrinking in Q4. But as you can see below, as a trigger, these news flashes: Followed by this

Had this effect (note that the chart is GMT+1):




And now instead of having most of the regional bourses in the black, the picture has turned quite red: Taking a broader view on the market, Stéphane Barbier de la Serre at Makor Capital Markets said there was a sense of angst on trading floors.

"Obviously people are fearful of what is going to happen when Asia reopens on Monday, if it opens at all", he said.

"Why should you take chances? I think the market will be fragile until mid-February", when there is likely be a better picture on the coronavirus' impact on the global economy.


(Julien Ponthus and Joice Alves)

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OPENING SNAPSHOT: SPANISH BANKS, ELECTROLUX AND HARGREAVES (0830 GMT)

With three Spanish banks reporting results today it should come as no surprise that they took the center stage in European markets this morning.

Banco Sabadell fell as much as 10% after its results missed estimates on larger costs. Caixabank gained 4.6% after the bank said Q4 net profit more than doubled to 439 million euros.

Overall European bourses are trading in positive territory with the pan European index up 0.3%, led by travel and leisure stocks, which are slowly bouncing back from a week of stress as some major airlines announced they will not be flying to China, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.

The virus was also the main reason for some single stocks moves. Shares in Swedish home appliances maker Electrolux fell 8% as the company warns the coronavirus may affect its Chinese vendors.

Healthcare company Novacyt shares jumped as much as 44% after the company said it launched a new molecular test for the coronavirus.

Back to results, British investment platform Hargreaves Lansdown dipped 5.5% after it said a slowdown in net new business growth overshadowed an increase in HY profits.

Britain's blue chip index started the day in positive territory but quickly slipped as the pound gained in a historic day for the UK, which leaves the European Union today.


(Joice Alves)

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EUROPEAN STOCKS SEEN HIGHER IN HISTORIC DAY (0755 GMT)

European stocks are seen rebounding after yesterday's heavy losses as some decent corporate results offset coronvirus concerns at the moment. It's also worth noting that today's is the UK's last day in the European union putting an end to more than three years of political uncertainties across the region.

In the corporate front, all eyes on Spanish banks: Caixabank is seen up 2% after the bank said Q4 net profit more than doubled to 439 million euros, BBVA is also seen 2% higher after it booked a Q4 loss of 155 million euros but above expectations.

In Italy, fashion retailer Tod's is seen higher as sales pick up in Q4 and in the UK Boeing supplier Senior is under the spotlight after it warned of lower aerospace revenue and margins.

Aerospace and defence group Leonardo is also seen higher as it said it expected full-year orders and revenue to exceed its 2019 guidance, thanks to a strong performance of its main businesses in the final part of the year.

On the M&A front, Volkswagen AG's Traton commercial truck unit offered $35 a share, or $2.9 billion, for the shares of U.S. truck maker Navistar International that it does not already own.

Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll will take a roughly 20% stake in Aston Martin for nearly 200 million pounds as the ailing carmaker raises funds to turn around a poor performance hit by weaker-than-expected sales.


Other corporate headlines:

East African Breweries' H1 profit jumps 9%

Laura Ashley Says Kwan Cheong Ng Will Retire As Executive Director & CEO

Hargreaves Lansdown assets up 3.3% in December quarter

TalkTalk adds 148,000 fibre customers, on track for year


(Joice Alves)

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BREXIT DAY: EUROPEAN BOURSES SEEN HIGHER(0640 GMT)

European bourses are expected to open higher as the UK leaves the bloc today in its most significant geopolitical move since the loss of empire, putting an end to more than three years of political uncertainty over the future of the country.

As Brexit uncertainties ease, investors are nervous about the coronavirus impact on the global economy as the World Health Organization declared yesterday a global emergency because the virus spread to more countries.

But investors also took heart from WHO comments that the drastic steps Beijing was taking would "reverse the tide" and contain the outbreak.

Financial spreadbetters at IG expect London's FTSE to open 47 points higher at 7,381, Frankfurt's DAX to open 77 points up at 13,157 and Paris' CAC to open 36 points higher at 5,871.

(Joice Alves)

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