European shares fall as pandemic fears return

European shares fall as pandemic fears return

European shares slipped on Friday as market fears were reignited following a disappointing report over the unsuccessful development of a potential COVID-19 treatment.    

The pan-European STOXX 600 index slipped by 1.1% at 0719 GMT, while London’s FTSE lost 1.3% after data showed U.K. retail sales plunging in March.

Global equity markets’ outlook remained gloomy after U.S. biotech firm Gilead Sciences Inc failed to produce positive results for an experimental drug to treat COVID-19 patients. However, the company deemed its findings inconclusive as the study was terminated early.

All major European sectors declined in early trading with the banking index taking the brunt of the hit. The drop comes as S&P slashed Commerzbank’s credit rating and lowered its outlook for Deutsche Bank from stable to negative.  

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