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Virus-driven sell-off continues

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US markets continued to slump on Wednesday with the Dow ending in bear-market territory for the first time in more than a decade after the World Health Organization declared the current spread of COVID-19 a global pandemic. The Dow Jones Industrial Average recovered from the session’s lows but still fell 1,464.94 points, or 5.9 percent, to 23,553.22 with the S&P 500 dropping 140.85 points, or 4.9 percent, to 2,741.38. The Nasdaq Composite sank 392.20 points, or 4.7 percent, to close the session at 7,952.05.

European markets also ended lower, surrendering earlier gains made on the Bank of England’s interest rate cut, as weakness in the US markets across the Atlantic drove the sell-off later into the session. The pan-European Stoxx 600 index closed down 0.7 percent while the UK’s FTSE 100 dropped 1.4 percent. All eyes will be on the European Central Bank this Thursday, which is expected to announce its latest monetary policy in response to COVID-19.

Maltese markets meanwhile moved higher with the MSE Equity Total Return Index closing up 0.175 percent at 9,053.526 points. GlobalCapital Plc led the gains with shares up 6.48 percent at €0.23, followed by Malta International Aiport Plc, which added 2.94 percent to €5.25. Midi Plc meanwhile led the losses with shares down 9.09 percent at €0.40, followed by Mapfre Middlesea Plc which slipped 0.86 percent to €2.30.

Trump orders restriction on all European flights to US

Global market futures reeled on Thursday after US President Donald Trump imposed sweeping restrictions on travel from Europe, in a major blow to already battered airlines and strained relations with the Eurozone. Travellers scrambled to rebook flights as Trump ordered travel from Europe to the United States to be restricted for 30 days, responding to mounting pressure to take action against a rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak.

“This is the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign virus in modern history,” Trump said in a televised public address from the Oval Office on Wednesday. The travel order, which starts at midnight on Friday, does not apply to Britain, or to Americans undergoing “appropriate screenings,” Trump said. After triggering confusion by suggesting trade with Europe would also be suspended, Trump clarified that “trade will in no way be affected.”

The surprise restrictions sent financial markets tumbling, with Euro Stoxx 50 futures plunging 8.3% to their lowest levels since mid-2016. U.S. stock futures were down more than 4%.

This article was issued by Peter Petrov, Trader at Calamatta Cuschieri. For more information visit, www.cc.com.mt. The information, view and opinions provided in this article are being provided solely for educational and informational purposes and should not be construed as investment advice, advice concerning particular investments or investment decisions, or tax or legal advice. Calamatta Cuschieri Investment Services Ltd has not verified and consequently neither warrants the accuracy nor the veracity of any information, views or opinions appearing on this website.