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Europe: Shares slip as virus cases surge; HSBC, Nokia slump

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[BENGALURU] European shares opened lower on Wednesday, with banks and energy firms leading the declines as surging coronavirus infections globally dimmed the prospect of a swift economic recovery.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 fell 0.5 per cent by 7.14am GMT (3.14pm SGT). Banks and energy firms slid more than 1 per cent.

London-listed HSBC fell 3.5 per cent after a report said US President Donald Trump's top advisers weighed proposals to undermine the Hong Kong currency's peg to the US dollar. The proposal could possibly limit the ability of Hong Kong banks to buy dollars.

Market sentiment soured overnight on Wall Street as the US coronavirus outbreak crossed a grim milestone of over three million confirmed cases on Tuesday, while the World Health Organization acknowledged "evidence emerging" of the airborne spread of the coronavirus.

Finland's Nokia slumped 6.7 per cent after JPMorgan downgraded its stock to "neutral" on indications of a potential loss of business with US telecoms company Verizon.

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Europe's home appliance maker Electrolux jumped 5.1 per cent after saying that it would report a smaller loss than previously anticipated for the second quarter due to sales growth in June and cost mitigation actions.

REUTERS

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