European stocks edged lower on Monday as global coronavirus developments and a sharp fall in U.S. oil prices were in focus.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 pared earlier gains to dip nearly 0.2% lower, with sectors and major bourses largely in negative territory. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 index was among the biggest regional losers, shedding 0.5%.
The move downward came after U.S. crude futures for May plunged more than 25% to $13.47 a barrel. Traders continue to fret over a slump in oil demand due to the coronavirus pandemic, with one analyst describing the situation stateside to CNBC as “quite dire.”
Coronavirus developments also remain in focus with more than 2.4 million infected worldwide and 165,903 deaths globally, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Meanwhile, economic data out of Europe on Monday showed that the euro zone’s trade surplus with the rest of the world grew to 23 billion euros ($25.1 billion) in February, up from 18.5 billion euros a year before.
Separately, IHS Markit revealed Monday that a third of U.K. households had already suffered a drop in income because of the coronavirus crisis, with researchers recording the weakest income reading for Britain since the survey began in 2009.
It comes as the U.K.’s online furlough scheme went live, with the CEO of British tax authority HMRC telling the BBC 67,000 claims had been made in the first 30 minutes.
Looking at individual stocks, Philips rose toward the top of the European benchmark during morning deals. The Dutch health technology company said Monday that it expected to return to growth in the second half of the year. Shares were up almost 7% on the news.
At the other end of the index, Norway’s Mowi slumped to the bottom of the benchmark after it missed first-quarter earnings expectations and postponed its dividend. Shares slipped 8%.
— CNBC’s Eustance Huang contributed reporting to this story.