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European Markets Fluctuate as COVID-19 Remains in Focus

On Thursday, the European markets fluctuated as they reacted to the coronavirus pandemic and related developments in the U.S. and globally.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 fluctuated either side of the flatline in early trade. It was up 0.2% by mid-morning with oil and gas stocks rising 4.6% while utilities dropped 1.8%, leading to losses.

Global markets reacted to news that the number of COVID-19 confirmed cases in the U.S. surpassed 200,000 on Wednesday – doubling since Friday.

The U.S. President, Donald Trump, has warned that the U.S. COVID-19 cases could increase over the next few weeks.

Projections according to White House officials are that the US could experience between 100,000 to 240,000 deaths. The fatalities could also pick over the next few weeks.

The U.S. is rolling out more extensive testing as the outbreaks pop up in more and more cities.

On Thursday, the U.S. stock futures rose overnight trading and pointed to gains, as markets try to rebound after kicking off the second quarter in the red.

As the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc globally, stock markets posted steep losses on Wednesday at the beginning of the second quarter.

In Asia, stocks experienced mixed trading as global markets continue their rocky start to the second quarter.

Energy Sector Outstanding Performance

The energy sector performance stood out.

The Subsea 7, Royal Dutch Shell, and TGS-Nopec all gained more than 8% by mid-morning.

In addition to Stoxx 600, Belgian life insurer Ageas and Dufry, a Swiss travel retailer, gained 11.8% and 14.6%, respectively.

Looking at the European benchmark, the French corporate bank Natixis plunged 12%.

Hays, the British recruitment giant, slid more than 7% after announcing an emergency $248.2 million equity raise and canceling its dividend as the pandemic continues to hit demand.

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