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LIVE MARKETS-Traffic update: Milan, Tokyo streets calmer than usual

* European shares down 3.6% on coronavirus pandemic worries * Italy battles 'explosion' of virus cases * Travel and luxury stocks hit hard, FTSE MIB worst day since 2016 * Gold surges as investors seek safety, volatility jumps * 595 of 600 STOXX constituents in red Welcome to the home for real-time coverage of European equity markets brought to you by Reuters stocks reporters. You can share your thoughts with Thyagaraju Adinarayan (thyagaraju.adinarayan@tr.com), Joice Alves (joice.alves@tr.com), Julien Ponthus (julien.ponthus@tr.com) in London and Danilo Masoni (danilo.masoni@tr.com) in Milan. TRAFFIC UPDATE: MILAN, TOKYO STREETS CALMER THAN USUAL (1336 GMT) Following up on our latest blog about some instant ways to check how the virus has hit businesses, we've tried to track down traffic movements in some cities to see if they're lower than usual. Live traffic congestion levels (courtesy: TomTom) in Milan over the last 7 days, note today's drop: And, Tokyo: (Thyagaraju Adinarayan) ***** TRACKING VIRUS IMPACT VIA ROAD/WEB TRAFFIC, PROPERTY SALES (1048 GMT) PMI, GDP, company updates etc are some traditional ways to monitor how far and wide the coronavirus has hit businesses, but Goldman Sachs has found some creative quick ways to track the impact: Baidu search, coal consumption, air quality, traffic congestions, property sales and passenger travel numbers. The bank has gathered these high-frequency indicators across different industries from various sources such as Sxcoal, Wind, Baidu etc. These could be useful until official activity data is released in mid-March. Here's a quick look into some eye-catching stats: ** Coronavirus-related keyword searches on Baidu have dropped after peaking on Jan. 27 ** Daily coal consumption of electricity producers still well below normal ** Traffic congestion after the New Year remains well below previous years ** The number of passengers carried after the Chinese New Year travel season remains low ** Daily property sales volume in 30 major cities is only about one-quarter of seasonal norm ** Steel demand in the third week after Chinese New Year was around 50% of the normal level (Thyagaraju Adinarayan) ***** BLACK MONDAY? IT'S ONLY GETTING STARTED... (1020 GMT) A week back stocks hit fresh record highs in Europe and the U.S. and there were talks of how complacent investors were and how this virus was just a short-term problem for world economy. Fast forward a week, here we are, witnessing a sell-off almost as steep as one of those days after the Brexit referendum -- The STOXX 600 index is heading for its worst single-day performance since June 24, 2016. It could only get worse from here. For now the damages are limited to hundreds of billions of market value wipe off, once the U.S. stocks are open it is likely to be called a black Monday. Trillion dollar babies, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Google-owner Alphabet are all pointing to 3% to 4% drop. List of notable moves so far today: * FTSE MIB on track for worst day since June 24, 2016 * STOXX 600 turns negative year-to-date * Euro volatility guage jumps to highest since aug 2019 * U.S. stock futures on track for worst day since August - peak of trade war crisis * easyJet and Ryanair drop >10% on fear of travel restrictions in Europe * Only three out of 600 stocks in positive territory (Thyagaraju Adinarayan) ***** CORONAVIRUS: DESERTED HOTELS, EMPTY AIRPORTS (0903 GMT) Oh boy! It's only getting worse, Europe's STOXX 600 is off 3%, wiping all of 2020 gains and the dollar damage is now a whopping 350 billion. Looks like all European indices are in free fall mode with some sectors selling-off 4% to 5%. It all started with Italy reporting a high number of infected cases making it the third most affected country in the world. Meanwhile in Asia, South Korea put the country on high alert, China so far has reported 77,150 cases and nearly 2,600 deaths. Travel and tourism stocks are taking a massive beating this morning with Tui, easyJet, Ryanair, Air France and Lufthansa all dropping 7% to 9%. ING estimates that the loss tourism in Asia alone could hit the continent's GDP by $105-115 billion -- "It’s far too early to speculate how far this Covid-19 outbreak will go. But barely two months into this epidemic and the ramifications are already far-reaching." Here's the damage to markets today: (Thyagaraju Adinarayan) ***** OPENING SNAPSHOT: IT'S A SEA OF RED! (0829 GMT) Only one stock is firmly in positive territory at the open in Europe: it's precious metal miner Polymetal thanks to its safe haven features. The remainder is a sea of read as fears of a coronavirus pandemic force investors out of risky assets like stocks. The STOXX 600 is now down 2.7%, wiping off $312 billion in market cap. All sectors are trading in the red. Italy, which became over the weekend the third most affected country in the world by number of infections, saw its top index fall 4.2%, set for its worst day since June 2016. Travel and luxury stocks were the biggest losers. Easyjet fell 10% and travel operator TUI was down 9%, while LVMH lost 4%. Here's your opening snapshot: (Danilo Masoni) ***** ON OUR RADAR: VIRUS-HIT ITALY, TRAVEL AND LUXURY STOCKS (0750 GMT) Italian stocks are expected to lead a sell-off in European shares at the open after the country took extraordinary measures to contain a sharp rise in coronavirus infections which could have a big impact on business activity in Europe's No. 4 economy. Bank of Italy governor Ignazio Visco reportedly said that virus damage could wipe off more than 0.2% from economic growth. Futures on Italy's main stock benchmark slid 4% to their lowest in nearly 3 weeks, while other euro zone futures fell 2% and FTSE futures were down 1.3%. Italy reported more than 150 coronavirus cases, leading authorities to seal off the worst affected towns in the wealthy regions of Lombardy and Veneto, shut schools, museums and cinemas and call off the Venice Carnival. Worries over a global pandemic are set to hit travel, luxury and chip stocks sharply. Shares in these sectors could fall around 2-3% at the open, say traders. RCB has estimated a 3-4% earnings hit from the virus for Paris and Frankfurt airport operators. In the UK, AB Foods warned there was a risk of supply shortages on some lines if delays in factory production in China are prolonged due to coronavirus In banks, UniCredit confirmed its CEO Mustier will remain at the bank following reports that he was being considered for the top job at rival HBSC. Meanwhile the FT reported that Barclays is gearing up to start the search for a new top boss to replace CEO Staley. Other stock movers: Bunzl posts higher profit as acquisitions pay off; UK's Countrywide in talks with LSL Property for possible all-share merger; Italy positive on EU talks over Monte dei Paschi clean-up plan (Danilo Masoni) ***** EUROPE SEEN DOWN SHARPLY ON VIRUS PANDEMIC FEARS (0640 GMT) European shares are expected to open sharply lower this morning as worries over the economic damage from coronavirus grew following sharp rises in infections outside China. Italy, along with South Korea and Iran saw a sharp rise in infections, fuelling worries that the outbreak will grow into a pandemic. "The new fears are centred around South Korea and Northern Italy where virus outbreaks have led to travel restrictions," says Chris Bailey, European Strategist at Raymond James. In Italy, where over 150 cases were reported, authorities sealed off the worst affected towns in the wealthy regions of Lombardy and Veneto ordered schools to close for at least a week, shut museums and cinemas and called off the Venice Carnival. Spreadbetters at IG expect London's FTSE to open 92 points lower at 7,312, Frankfurt's DAX to open 257 points lower at 13,322, and Paris' CAC to open 106 points lower at 5,923. EuroSTOXX 50 futures are down 2.1%. Over in Asia, shares also fell sharply as investors sought refuge in safe haven assets such as gold. (Danilo Masoni) ***** (Reporting by Danilo Masoni, Joice Alves, Julien Ponthus and Thyagaraju Adinarayan)