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Stocks - Europe Seen Lower; Virus "Worst is Yet to Come"

By Peter Nurse 

Investing.com - European stock markets are set to open mostly lower Tuesday, with worries about the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak outweighing positive signs from China's manufacturing sector.

At 2:25 AM ET (0605 GMT), the DAX futures contract in Germany traded 0.3% lower. {{167|France's CACAC 40 futures were up 0.1%, while the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. fell 0.2%.

Earlier Tuesday, China's official purchasing managers' index released showed factory activity in the world's second-largest economy grew for a fourth straight month in June, offering hope that the global economic recovery is still on course despite the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

This followed on from Monday’s strong U.S. housing data, which helped Wall Street post substantial gains overnight.

However, deaths from the virus have surpassed 500,000 worldwide and confirmed cases have exceeded 10 million in the six months since the World Health Organization became aware of the novel coronavirus. 

And the “worst is yet to come” given a lack of global solidarity, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization, said at a briefing in Geneva Monday. 

Adding to the uncertainty, China is reported to have approved a contentious law that would allow authorities to crack down on subversive and secessionist activity in Hong Kong. This could prompt trade restrictions with the U.S., and potentially other western countries, increasing tensions between the two superpowers.

Turning back to Europe, euro area flash consumer inflation for June is due at 5 AM ET (0900 GMT), while monthly French private consumption for the same month could also be interesting with respect to monitoring the economic rebound in the euro area.

In corporate news, Wirecard (DE:WDIG) is likely to be in the spotlight after the U.K.'s regulator lifted the suspension on the troubled company's U.K. operations that it imposed last week.

Also, Norwegian Air Shuttle (OL:NWC) said it has notified Boeing (NYSE:BA) that it will cancel a deal to buy nearly 100 remaining planes, and is suing over losses related to the grounding of the 737-Max and 787 engine issues.

Oil prices weakened Tuesday, amid concerns that the second wave of coronavirus cases will hit demand for fuel as well as signs that Libya may be able to end the blockade on its exports which has been effective since January amid a civil war.

Eyes will be on inventories data due on Tuesday from the American Petroleum Institute industry group, and from the U.S. government on Wednesday.

At 2:25 AM ET, U.S. crude futures traded 0.8% lower at $39.40 a barrel. The international benchmark Brent contract fell 0.6% to $41.62.

Elsewhere, gold futures rose 0.2% to $1,785.15/oz, while EUR/USD traded at 1.1216, down 0.2%.

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