European markets poised to start week on negative footing as coronavirus remains in focus

European markets are set to start the week lower Monday as the coronavirus pandemic remains in focus for investors.

London’s FTSE is seen opening 65 points lower at 5,437, Germany’s DAX is 74 points lower at 9,534 and France’s CAC index is seen 23 points lower at 4,309, according to IG. Italy’s FTSE MIB is seen 300 points lower at 16,300.

Global markets continue to take stock of the evolving coronavirus pandemic. The virus has already infected more than 720,000 people worldwide and caused at least 33,925 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

President Donald Trump on Sunday extended the national social distancing guidelines to April 30, walking back his previous remarks that he wanted the country to reopen for business by Easter.

“Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory has been won,” Trump said at an evening press briefing after suggesting that the coronavirus death rate would likely peak in two weeks.

Meanwhile in Europe, the number of deaths from coronavirus in Italy fell for the second consecutive day on Sunday. A national lockdown looks certain to continue beyond April 3.

In Asia, stocks fell Monday as investors continue to assess the economic impact of the global coronavirus pandemic. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell 2.68%, while mainland Chinese stocks fell by the afternoon, with the Shanghai composite down about 1.6% while the Shenzhen composite shed 2.793%.

On the data front, several measures of eurozone economic sentiment for March are released at 9 a.m. London time; there are no major earnings Monday.

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