European shares languish, suffer worst session in 1-1/2 years as pandemic fears mount



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European shares languish, suffer worst session in 1-1/2 years as pandemic fears mount

On Friday, a basket of European bourses had been met with a mass-scale sell-off wave, as media headlines reporting the discovery of a new pandemic pathogen variant across Southern Africa, had poured fresh scorns on optimism of a sharp rebound in global economic activities while heightening up frets of a fresh hit to global economy which had long been grappling with a supply chain constraint alongside a blistering upsurge in inflation indicators.

However, it remains to be seen whether a sharp shoot-up in inflation in a number of major G20 economies would emerge as a global phenomenon, suggested analysts. Nonetheless, in the day’s steep downward spiral in major European bourses had been almost entirely catalysed by a raft of remarks from the S.

African Health Ministry about discovery of a new pandemic pathogen strain, named as Omicron, while the Ministry was quoted saying on Thursday that the newly identified strain, B.1.1.529, could possibly evade the human body’s natural immune response.

Nevertheless, although, still weeks of studies would be required to find out whether the newly detected Omicron could evade available acquired immunizations against the pandemic, money markets across the globe had crumbled over worries of a worst-case scenario and driven traders out of riskier assets.

Adding further holocaust, late in the day, the WHO (World Health Organization) had declared the newly detected pandemic pathogen strain as a variant ‘of concern.

European bourses crushed, post weekly decline

Citing statistics, in the day’s European market wind-up, the regional pan-European STOXX 600 fell 3.7 per cent with stocks exposed to travel and entertainment sectors bearing the heaviest brunt, marking off the worst intra-session plunge since June 2020.

Besides, London’s blue-chip FTSE 100 tottered 3.64 per cent to 7,044.03 and French CAC 40 shrugged off 4.75 per cent to 6,739.73, while Frankfurt’s DAX 30 dwindled 4.15 per cent to 15,257.04. Elsewhere in Europe, Italy’s FTSE MIB muzzled 4.60 per cent to 25,852.99, while Madrid’s benchmark IBEX 35 crumbled 4.96 per cent to 8,402.70.

On the week, London’s FTSE 100 tumbled 2.49 per cent and French CAC 40 curbed out as much as 5.24 per cent, both of which had rubbed out roughly a fourth of their 2021 gains on Friday, while Frankfurt’s DAX dropped 5.59 per cent, shedding about a half of the German blue-chip index’s year-to-date gains.

In tandem, Italy’s FTSE MIB erased a third of its year-to-date gains, falling as much as 5.43 per cent over the week, while Madrid’s IBEX 35 retreated 4.00 per cent, paring all of its 2021 gains.