Shares tumble again as pandemic fears deepen

Investors got no relief from virus worries on Wednesday (February 26).

That after hundreds of new cases were reported worldwide, and U.S. authorities said a pandemic was now inevitable.

After sharp falls for Asian stocks, European markets also tanked.

Benchmark indexes were all down over 1% in early trade, before recovering a little ground.

The regional Stoxx 600 approached a four-month low.

A slew of corporate warnings about the virus didn't help the mood.

Among the big names: Diageo says the outbreak will snip up to $260 million off profits this year.

Its shares fell as much as 3%.

Food group Danone also cut its sales forecast for the year, estimating the hit at over $100 million.

And miner Rio Tinto reported its best earnings since 2011, but warned that the coronavirus could make the next six months a challenge.

Luxury brand Hermes was one of the few to strike a positive note.

It said it saw signs of a return to normal trading in China.

Just four of its stores there are now shut, down from 15 earlier in the year.

But its shares still sank over 1%.

Investors, it seems, are focused on the negatives.

Wednesday morning saw traditional safe havens all rise.

Gold headed towards seven-year highs, with U.S. and German governments bonds also posting gains.