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Banks, coronavirus news weigh on the mood



European stocks opened lower on Monday as allegations of banking and rising coronavirus infections affected market sentiment around the world.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 fell 1.1% at the start of trading, and banks and passenger stocks fell 2.3% to lead to losses as all sectors and major exchanges slipped into negative territory.

In addition to the latest developments on coronavirus, investors in Europe will closely monitor bank stocks on Monday after allegations this weekend that some had dealt with dubious funds.

In Asia, shares of Standard Chartered and HSBC, quoted in Hong Kong, collapsed on Monday after reports that they allegedly moved large amounts of suspicious funds. By Monday afternoon, shares of Standard Chartered fell 2.69% and HSBC fell 2.91

%. Earlier in the trading day, HSBC shares fell to a minimum of more than 25 years, according to FactSet.

The moves came after banks – among several global lenders – were identified in media reports as moving suspicious funds for nearly two decades, according to Reuters. The reports cite confidential documents provided by US government banks. HSBC said in a statement to CNBC, “We do not comment on reporting suspicious activity.”

Standard Chartered, meanwhile, said in a statement: “The reality is that there will always be attempts to launder money and avoid sanctions” and that it has taken its “responsibility to fight financial crime extremely seriously”.

The growing incidence of coronavirus remains in focus. The World Health Organization warned on Friday that the coronavirus “will not disappear,” noting that it still kills about 50,000 people a week. “That’s not where we want to be,” said Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO Emergency Health Program.

There are no big gains or data release in Europe on Monday.

– CNBC.com employees contributed to this market report.


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