European shares slide as pandemic jitters return

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The pan-European STOXX 600 index (STOXX) was down 1.1% at 0719 GMT, with London’s FTSE 100 (FTSE) shedding 1.3% as data showed UK retail sales crashed in March.

Global equity markets headed lower as a closely watched Gilead Sciences Inc (O:GILD) experimental drug failed to help patients with severe COVID-19 in a clinical trial, even as the drugmaker said findings were inconclusive because the study was terminated early.

All the major European sectors fell in early trading, with the banking index (SX7P) leading the declines as S&P cut Commerzbank’s (DE:CBKG) credit rating by a notch and lowered its outlook for Deutsche Bank (DE:DBKGn) to negative from stable.

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