Stocks – Europe Boosted by Wall Street Gains; Virus Still a Concern

© Reuters.

By Peter Nurse – European stock markets are set open higher Tuesday, helped by Wall Street posting record highs overnight and news from China suggesting that much of the workforce will have returned to work within a week.

At 02:10 ET (0710 GMT), the contract traded 63 points, or 0.5% higher. France’s were up 25 points, or 0.4%, while the contract in the U.K. rose 31 points, or 0.4%. Futures on the pan-eurozone index, the , climbed 14 points, or 0.4%.

Overnight Monday, both the S&P and Nasdaq made a positive start to the week, closing at record highs as strong gains for mega-cap tech stocks overshadowed concerns about the coronavirus impact.

The rose 0.7%, added 1.1% and the gained 0.6%.

Earlier Tuesday, the Chinese Ministry of Transport said 160 million people would return to work by next Monday, according to the Global Times.

Still, the death toll from the virus has climbed over 1,000 in mainland China and infected over 40,000 people. And measures of returning workers and passenger traffic flows within China suggested the virus had “a devastating impact on China’s economy in January and February,” said analysts at Nomura in a research note.

“We are concerned that global markets thus far appear to be significantly underestimating the extent of disruption inflicted by the virus,” they wrote.

Chinese authorities are trying to lessen the damage, with President Xi Jinping saying the government would prevent large-scale layoffs caused by the virus outbreak.

But companies are already feeling the pinch, and the market expects more stimulus from Beijing — even though it’s debatable what can be done in the near term to reverse a sharp slump in demand.

Turning back to Europe, Daimler (DE:) is likely to be in focus Tuesday after the luxury car manufacturer said

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