European stocks off highs on dashed stimulus hopes
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was 1.89% higher after the group’s announcement, off highs of close to 3% earlier in the day.
Global markets had rebounded on hopes that the leaders of the G-7 (Group of 7) industrialized nations would promise monetary policy measures to mitigate the economic impact of the virus, but nothing concrete was announced.
“Given the potential impacts of COVID-19 on global growth, we reaffirm our commitment to use all appropriate policy tools to achieve strong, sustainable growth and safeguard against downside risks,” the G-7 statement said.
The teleconference call was led by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Tuesday at 7 a.m. ET.
New cases of the virus continue to decline in China, where the outbreak of the flu-like illness began. But cases are rising elsewhere with South Korea, Iran and Italy the worst hit countries outside China.
Meanwhile, inflation in the euro zone slipped in February, compared with the previous month, meeting analyst expectations. Consumer prices were up 1.2% in February year-on-year, following a 1.4% rise in January, the data from Eurostat, the bloc’s official statistics office, showed. This was due primarily to a 0.3% fall in energy prices.
In other news, Benjamin Netanyahu has declared victory in Israel’s third general election in less than 12 months, but has still fallen short of a parliamentary majority, exit polls show. On the basis of initial projections by Israel’s three main television channels, Netanyahu, head of the right-wing Likud party, claimed victory in Monday’s vote over his main challenger, former armed forces chief Benny Gantz of the centrist Blue and White, Reuters reported.
Very few stocks on the European benchmark slid deep into the red, with bottom-of-the-pile Hiscox dropping 5.5% after UBS cut its price target, while Italian lender Banco BPM fell 4.3% as investors reacted negatively to its new business plan unveiled on Tuesday.