European stock markets fell today, Friday, to erase meager gains made this week, as more companies hinted that the activity was negatively affected by the Corona virus pandemic, portending a great stagnation of profits before the season in the announcement of business results, and the European Stoxx 600 index fell 0.2 percent by 0705 GMT, as energy stocks tracked the impact of a drop in oil prices as investors worried about a Saudi-Russian deal that US President Donald Trump said he brokered.
The shares of Zurich Insurance Group, AXA, Munich Re and Prudential declined by 1.9 percent to 4.2 percent after the European Union insurance sector asked insurance and reinsurance companies to suspend dividends and temporarily buy back shares.
BAE Systems fell 1.3 percent after it said it would delay a decision to pay its dividends and launched cost-control measures after a major turmoil caused by the outbreak of the virus.
H&M, the world’s second-largest retailer of clothing, reported a 46 percent drop in March sales and said it expected to incur a loss in the second quarter of its fiscal year.
But the company’s shares, which have lost 40 percent of their value since the end of January, jumped 5 percent as they said they were taking steps to boost liquidity fenders and reduce operating expenses.