European stocks edge higher, brushing off coronavirus concerns; Stocks to watch Wednesday
European markets opened slightly higher on Wednesday as investors in the region brush off concerns about the spread of the China coronavirus.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 edged 0.1% higher in early trade, with banks adding 0.6% to lead gains while food and beverages, autos and household goods slid by around 0.2%.
A rally in European markets sentiment follows a rebound in U.S. stocks on Tuesday, after the market’s biggest sell-off in more than three months. But in Asia, shares in Hong Kong plummeted Wednesday as markets returned from the Lunar New Year holiday amid coronavirus fears.
Chinese health officials say the death toll has risen to 132 with the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in China now standing at 5,974, topping the number of SARS cases previously. Between Nov. 1, 2002, and July 31, 2003, China had 5,327 SARS cases, according to the World Health Organization.
Chinese President Xi Jinping called on the country to strengthen its resolve on Tuesday, saying “I believe that as long as we strengthen our confidence, help each other, adopt scientific prevention and containment measures, and persist in precise policies, we will definitely win the battle against the outbreak.”
Stocks to watch Wednesday include LVMH which posted weaker sales growth in the fourth quarter as the French luxury goods company sees softer demand in Hong Kong amid anti-government protests.
Earnings come from Santander, Novartis and SEB on Wednesday and, on the data front, France and Italy release consumer confidence figures for January.