/Europe Markets: European stocks fail to turn higher after sweeping Fed action, though Total and Shell surge

Europe Markets: European stocks fail to turn higher after sweeping Fed action, though Total and Shell surge


Associated Press

In this image from video, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks on the Senate floor at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Saturday, March 21, 2020.

Even an unprecedented Federal Reserve action couldn’t lift European stocks into positive territory on Monday.

The Stoxx Europe 600

SXXP, -1.56%

 slipped 2% to 287.10, and the major regional indexes in Europe also were weaker, with the German DAX

DAX, +0.13%

 , French CAC 40

PX1, -0.26%

 and the U.K. FTSE 100

UKX, -1.28%

 all retreating.

The weakness came even as U.S. stock futures vaulted higher on the Fed’s announcement it would buy an unlimited amount of Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities.

Markets in Europe had been under pressure as the U.S. Senate, shorthanded as one senator tested positive for coronavirus and others quarantined themselves, did not advance a bill on the stimulus package, as talks still continued between key Republican and Democratic figures.

Germany meanwhile may authorize more than 350 billion euros in new debt, according to reports, as Chancellor Angela Merkel was quarantined after coming into a contact with a virus-carrying doctor. The U.K. after markets closed on Friday rolled out a program that would guarantee most of the pay of workers kept on the payroll.

There have been 341,365 confirmed coronavirus cases globally, with 14,759 deaths and nearly 100,000 recoveries. Italy has had the most fatalities at 5,476, according to the Johns Hopkins tracker of official government data.

European companies announced cost-cutting moves in response.

Airbus

AIR, -2.59%

  dropped 3% as the planemaker said it is canceling planned dividend payments and lining up 15 billion euros in new credit.

Royal Dutch Shell

RDSA, +6.93%

 turned higher, jumping 5% as it said it’s halting its buyback program as it announced cuts to operational and capital spending to boost its free cash flow by up to $9 billion before tax. Another major European oil company, Total

FP, +10.16%

 jumped 10% as it said it’s halting its stock buyback plan as it cuts costs.

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