European markets plunged on Monday as much of the region went into shutdown mode to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 dropped 9.5% by early afternoon, and travel and leisure stocks plummeted 14.3% to lead losses as all sectors and major bourses traded deep into the red.
Markets on Monday were reacting to the shutdown taking place on the continent. Spain has imposed a 15-day nationwide lockdown, banning its 46 million citizens from all-non essential movement. The country imposed the state of emergency decree, as it confirmed the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Europe, after Italy.
Meanwhile, France and Germany have closed large parts of their economies and fortified borders as they step up their efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
The U.K. government is facing growing calls to take more drastic measures, this comes after the Trump administration expands its travel ban to include the U.K. and Ireland.
Markets are also reacting to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s surprise move Sunday; the Fed slashed its benchmark interest rate to zero and launched a massive quantitative easing program in an emergency move.
In Asia overnight, stocks in Asia Pacific mostly fell Monday as they reacted to the Fed’s action. The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia led losses among the region’s major markets as it dropped 9.7%, with the heavily-weighted financial subindex diving more than 11%.
There are no major earnings releases Monday.
Travel stocks hammered
Investec shares dived 46% to the bottom of the European benchmark after its asset manager Ninety One listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) at a much lower price than anticipated amid the current market volatility.