UPDATE 1-European shares fall as coronavirus fears persist

(Reuters) – European shares dipped on Monday as concerns over the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak weighed on sentiment, with stocks in Ireland leading declines after elections in the country. The pan-European STOXX 600 index fell 0.3% by 0905 GMT, having marked its best week in three months as part of a broader rebound from an earlier virus-driven selloff. “In essence, (stocks) are giving themselves room again to lose – they have just created a band for themselves after that rebound last week,” said Connor Campbell, analyst at British financial spread better Spreadex. Stocks in Ireland .ISEQ dropped more than 1% after Irish nationalists Sinn Fein secured almost a quarter of first-preference votes in a general election. Bank stocks were the biggest weight on the Irish index. While Chinese businesses resumed work after an extended holiday, with authorities lifting some virus-related restrictions, a spike in the death toll to more than 900 kept overall sentiment jittery. “Markets would’ve been after something more positive this morning, and they haven’t been presented with that, they’ve been presented with more uncertainty,” Spreadex’s Campbell added. The European travel and leisure sector .SXTP was the biggest decliner among the regional sectors. Hotel operator Whitbread (WTB.L) fell the most in the sector as the virus outbreak threatened to erode demand from Chinese tourists. European oil and gas stocks .SXEP dropped as worries over Chinese demand continued to chip away at oil prices. Stocks in Germany .GDAXI, Europe’s largest economy, fell 0.2% on weakness in information technology stocks. A reading of business morale in the euro zone, due later in the day, is expected to have fallen drastically in January from the previous month.

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