* STOXX closes down 11%
* Worst fall ever
* Trump's travel ban bites
* ECB stimulus plan disappoint
* Wall Street falls
Welcome to the home for real-time coverage of European equity markets brought to you by Reuters
stocks reporters. You can share your thoughts with Thyagaraju Adinarayan
(email@example.com), Joice Alves (firstname.lastname@example.org) and
Julien Ponthus (email@example.com) in London.
CLOSING SNAPSHOT: #GFC2? (1654 GMT)
This day will stay in market history for a while and probably not be remembered as
Lagarde's finest hour with the ECB completely failing to reassure markets.
European stocks fell 11%. Yep, the STOXX 600 fell by a double-digit figure on March, 12
Never had a collapse of the sort occurred, not even at the height of the financial crisis or
the euro zone sovereign debt crisis.
We seem to be slowly but surely moving towards what some are already calling #GFC2.
"2020 has been a tale of woe for markets, which have seen a virus outbreak in China turn
into a global pandemic, an oil crisis, an equity bear market and now a liquidity event", was
IG's Chris Beauchamp take on the day.
A scary signal is that demand for dollars via the currency derivative markets surged in a
sign that coronavirus-induced economic stress is starting to manifest itself in a broad scramble
for greenback funding.
Three banks fell over 20% (ABN AMRO, Commerzbank, Natixis) and the euro zone banking index
sank 16.57%! Yikes.
Here's a look at the carnage over European benchmarks:
"PUT THAT INTO YOUR EQUITY RISK PREMIA MODELS AND SMOKE IT!" (1513 GMT)
At current levels, there could a reasonable case be made to find sovereign bond yields quite
low and the valuation of stocks on the cheap side.
But not for SocGen's perma bear Albert Edwards!
"Let me make one thing clear: I do not believe government bonds are expensive or that
equities are cheap. And if one more person tells me the equity risk premium is very high and
equities are priced for recession, I will scream", he wrote in his latest note.
"In the Ice Age, with the threat of outright deflation, both bond yields and PEs will be
rock-bottom low", he adds, giving a target of -1% on the U.S. 10-year yield and a PE of around
"Put that into your equity risk premia models and smoke it," he tells bulls.
WANTED: "AMBITIOUS AND COORDINATED FISCAL RESPONSE" (1336 GMT)
Lagarde's opening speech made clear that EU governments now need to step up with big
spending plans if this crisis is to be tackled.
Some would argue that a rate cut would have helped.
In the meantime, the STOXX 600 is falling 9.5%!!!
Here's our news flash:
12-Mar-2020 13:32:56 - LAGARDE SAYS AMBITIOUS, COORDINATED FISCALY POLICY RESPONSE NEEDED
WORST FALL EVER FOR EUROPE (1323 GMT)
The ECB statement sent the STOXX 600 to -8.1%, which would be the worst day ever for
European stocks should that level be met at the close.
As you can see below, this would be unprecedented:
THAT ECB STATEMENT DIDN'T GO WELL, DID IT! (1306GMT)
It took a few minutes for the markets to decide what to do with the ECB statement, which
promised fresh liquidity but fell short of cutting rates.
About 30 minutes ahead of the (everyone now hopes she really is) wise owl presser, the jury
has given its verdict and it's a clear negative, even for euro zone banks which were expected to
benefit if rates were left unchanged.
Basically, European benchmarks are now 1% to 2% lower than they were before the statement.
Funny to note that while most of the ECB statement has been amended to detail the stimulus
package, one part hasn't changed much. Yep, rates...
THIS IS 2008-LIKE SCARY, EUROPE'S FEAR INDEX SHOWS (1222 GMT)
It doesn't take an in-depth analysis to get what Europe's fear index is telling us:
this coronavirus crisis is scary.
At 64, today's high, the volatility gauge of European blue chips is at its highest since the
financial crisis. It's still below its 87.8 record hit on October 2008 but it sure seems to be
heading towards there.
Look at this chart, speaks for itself:
HAS GOLD CAUGHT THE VIRUS AS WELL? (1212 GMT)
Following bitcoin's cratering, gold (the real safe haven?) is selling off as well.
Is it the sell everything and go home approach?
HAS BITCOIN CAUGHT CORONAVIRUS? (1153 GMT)
The crypto currency is in freefall, down 27% and on course for its biggest fall since 2013.
So much for a safe haven uh?
"We recognise that it's a speculative asset, and it's been hard to escape its extreme
short-term correlations with equities over the last few weeks," said Thomas Puech, partner at
London-based crypto exchange Enigma Securities.
"It had been holding up relatively well considering that, but we unfortunately hit a
breaking point today."
It's not quite clear what exactly happened to trigger the crypto's fall so fast:
(Tom Wilson with Julien Ponthus)
DISASTER MOVIE SCENARIO: "TOTAL LOSS OF REVENUE"
While it's impossible to quantify the economic damage the coronavirus is about to unleash on
Europe, it's fairly easy for companies to imagine a worst case scenario.
For Cineworld, it's pretty straightforward as it would materialise in "a total loss of
revenue across the enlarged estate for between one and three months".
The group believes that disaster movie scenario is unlikely but the consequences would be
"Under the specific downside scenario, however, of the Group losing the equivalent of
between two and three months’ total revenue across the entire estate there is a risk of
breaching the Group’s financial covenants, unless a waiver agreement is reached with the
required majority of lenders within the going concern period".
Investors seem to be taking the doom scenario seriously with the share price falling close
Check out their press release here: https://bit.ly/3aRhZBo
A HERD OF ANGRY GRIZZLY BEARS (0955 GMT)
The commonly accepted definition for a bear market is a 20% fall from a recent peak.
That's done, we all pretty much have that t-shirt on by now with the STOXX down c. 28%.
But what do you call a 30% collapse? A grizzly bear market?
And what about a 40% decline? An angry grizzly bear market?
Looking at some of the European sectors, there is actually a herd of them:
European sector From 2020 peak
Oil and gas -42%
Travel and leisure -40%
Autos and parts -37%
Basic Materials -36%
Financial services -30%
Industrial goods -30%
OPENING SNAPSHOT: MORE PAIN FOR EUROPEAN AIRLINES (0846 GMT)
As expected European stocks were down 6% at the open and the travel & leisure index was on
free fall with big names such as Lufthansa, British Airways-owner IAG and Air
France bleeding 11% to 13%.
Including today's move, the STOXX travel & leisure index has shed a whopping 40%
since Feb .19.
Looking beyond airlines, Cineworld is the top faller across Europe with the stock
sliding 27% after it said it could breach the terms of its existing debt arrangements under a
worst case virus scenario.
On the pan-European STOXX 600 index JUST ONE stock is in positive territory --
Pargesa Holding is up 3% after majority owner plans to take over the entire Swiss financial
ON OUR RADAR: BREXIT LOWS, AIRLINES (0743 GMT)
The pan-European STOXX 600 and the UK's FTSE 100 indexes are likely to test
June 2016 lows at the open if they open 5% or lower and oh boy, the Trump's travel ban is likely
to send airline stocks into a tailspin.
European stocks have lost more than 23% Feb. 19 as virus started spreading fast outside
China and airlines have borne most of the brunt. Air France for instance has lost more
than half of its value since mid-February.
One trader expects Lufthansa and Air France to open down 10 to 15%.
Meanwhile in corporate news, companies continue to come out with coronavirus warnings. WH
Smith sees 40 million pound hit from virus and airport retailer Dufry said it
is cutting jobs and guiding for a single-digit decrease in organic sales in 2020.
WHOA! A 6% DROP...
Looks like the extreme up-and-down swings are here to stay!
European stocks are heading for an ugly open with futures pointing to a 5% to 6% drop for
all major indexes as Trump's travel ban announcement and lack of substantive stimulus measures
"These large day-to-day swings reflect potentially extreme scenarios, in both directions,
for the economy and for markets," Morgan Stanley recently wrote in a note.
CARNAGE: TRAVEL BAN SHOCK, STIMULUS DISAPPOINTMENT (0640 GMT)
Europe is likely to open deep in red as investors are shocked by Trump's travel ban
announcement, while disappointed by the measures taken to combat the economic damage from the
virus. U.S. stock futures slump 4% on top of the 5% selloff in cash markets on Wednesday.
The virus has so far wiped nearly $14 trillion off global stocks in less than two months.
"The announcement of a month-long travel ban on EU citizens to the US (plus a ‘reconsider
travel’ advisory for US citizens globally) is a new stage in the coronavirus impacts," said
Chris Bailey, European strategist for Raymond James.
The World Health Organisation yesterday declared COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.
Financial spreadbetters IG expect London's FTSE to open 347 points lower at 5,529,
Frankfurt's DAX to open 667 points lower at 9,771 and Paris' CAC to open 303 points lower at
After the Fed, BoE, Canada and a bunch of other central bank rate cuts, it's time for the
ECB to act. The central bank's policy meeting is later today and it's all but certain to unveil
new stimulus measures, including new, ultra-cheap loans for banks to pass onto small and
(Reporting by Danilo Masoni, Joice Alves, Julien Ponthus and Thyagaraju Adinarayan)