European stocks poised for lower open as coronavirus remain investors’ key focus

European stocks are expected to open slightly lower on Thursday morning as China’s coronavirus epidemic remains the key focus for investors.

The FTSE is set to open 23 points lower at 7,511, while the CAC is expected to trade 4 points lower at 6,100 and Germany’s DAX is set to open 18 points lower at 13,731, according to IG.

European stocks on Wednesday rallied to new highs as luxury stocks were lifted by a decline in the number of new coronavirus cases reported in China the previous day.

But the death toll and number of new reported cases recorded in Hubei province, the area at the centre of the outbreak in China, surged sharply on Wednesday, according to figures from local health authorities.

The region reported an additional 242 deaths and 14,840 new cases for February 12, bringing the total number of people who have died amid the coronavirus outbreak up to 1,310. The number of new cases jumped dramatically after the province changed its method of reporting cases. The province announced that it is starting to include “clinically diagnosed” cases in its figures and that 13,332 of the new cases declined under that classification.

Investors are monitoring the situation and its potential impact on both the Chinese and global economies.

Back in Europe, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to reshape his government on Thursday as the UK forges a future for itself after leaving the European Union.

Politics also remains in focus in Ireland, where lawmakers are still working to negotiate a new government after no political party managed to gain a clear majority in the country’s election last weekend.

New data from the UK’s Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors on Thursday indicated that British house prices surged for the first time since July 2018 last month.

Earnings will also be a focal point for European investors on Thursday, with Airbus, Commerzbank and Pernod Ricard among the firms expected to release their financial results.

Source: CNBC