European shares fall as coronovirus fears rattle investors

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(Reuters) – European shares fell for a fifth straight session on Wednesday, as investors fretted over the growing impact of a fast-spreading coronavirus that has pushed companies world-wide to sound the alarm on earnings.

Europe’s main equity benchmark STOXX 600 () fell 0.8% by 0813 GMT, marking its first five-day losing streak since July 2019.

That followed a grim session for Asia and Wall Street overnight after U.S. health officials warned Americans should prepare for possible community spread of the virus as it hit Spain and dozens of countries from South Korea to Italy.

The past four trading sessions had seen about $3 trillion wiped off the value of world stocks, with economists cutting growth forecasts and companies warning of lower earnings due to the virus.

British spirits maker Diageo (L:) fell 1% after flagging an estimated hit to fiscal 2020 profit from coronavirus of up to 200 million pounds ($260 million).

Food group Danone (PA:) also lowered its 2020 forecast for sales and profit margin, citing an uncertain economic climate and the coronavirus.

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