European shares skid as China epidemic fuels economic worry

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(Reuters) – European shares dropped on Thursday as concerns mounted about the economic impact of an epidemic in China that has now claimed 170 lives.

The pan-European STOXX 600 () dropped 0.9% by 0805 GMT, heading for its sharpest weekly decline in nearly four months.

All major European subsectors were in the red with miners (), which rely heavily on China for their metal exports, down 1.4%.

The energy index () slipped 2.2%, pressured by losses in London-listed shares of Royal Dutch Shell (L:) after the company’s quarterly profit missed expectations on weaker oil and gas prices.

After the U.S. Federal Reserve stood pat on interest rates, as expected, investor attention now shifts to the Bank of England’s decision due later in the day, with expectations of the first rate cut in more than three years standing at nearly 50%.

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