European stocks continued to tumble on Friday following their worst day in a month as fears heightened over the toll of the coronavirus on the global economy.
The markets had appeared calmer after suffering heavy losses on Thursday, but had reversed early gains by mid-afternoon as investors digested record GDP contractions in leading European economies.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 (^STOXX) shed 0.7%, off the back of its biggest daily fall in a month of 2.2% the previous day. EU figures showed a record 11.9% decline in GDP, with the data a fraction worse than expected by analysts.
In Britain the FTSE 100 (^FTSE) had opened higher but was down 1.3% in late afternoon trading as the easing of lockdown rules was paused and EU trade talks looked set to drag on to October.
The CAC 40 (^FCHI) in France was down 1.2% as official figures showed a post-war record decline in French second-quarter GDP of 13.8%. It was less catastrophic than expected by officials or analysts, however.
Germany’s DAX (^GDAXI) was down 0.4% after losing ground over its own worse-than-expected GDP data on Thursday.
The declines come in spite of some strong data overnight. In the US on Thursday, quarterly earnings at Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN), Facebook (FB) and Google owner Alphabet (GOOGL) had come in better than expected, however. In Asia, manufacturing output grew at a faster pace in July in China, while Japanese factories returned to growth.
But official figures on Thursday had also shown US output collapsed by a record 32.9% in the second quarter, and a second week in a row of rising unemployment insurance claims. US president Donald Trump’s call to delay the presidential election added to investors’ alarm.
The mixed news left US stocks mixed on Friday. The S&P 500 (^GSPC) was up 0.1% in late morning trading eastern time, while the Dow Jones (^DJI) was down 0.3% and the Nasdaq (^IXIC) was trading 0.8% higher.
Meanwhile banks and carmakers had also dragged European stocks lower on Thursday. Results by major firms including Volkswagen (VOW.DE), Airbus (AIR.PA), Renault (RNO.PA), Lloyds Bank (LLOY.L) and BBVA (BBVA.MC) laid bare the damage of the pandemic in recent months.
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