European markets set for negative open amid coronavirus, oil jitters

European markets are set to open lower Tuesday as investor concerns over the coronavirus outbreak continue and oil market volatility remains in focus.

London’s FTSE index is seen opening 106 points lower at 5,690, Germany’s DAX is seen 185 points lower at 10,466, France’s CAC 40 is seen 77 points lower at 4,439 and Italy’s FTSE MIB is seen 393 points lower at 16,630, according to IG.

Investors in Europe remain focused on coronavirus developments as economies in the region tentatively start to lift lockdowns, but oil markets have come into sharp focus after dramatic moves in the oil price as the virus continues to dent demand worsening a supply glut.

West Texas Intermediate crude futures for May delivery turned positive in overnight trading, after plunging below zero for the first time in history on Monday. The contract in question is set to expire on Tuesday, fueling Monday’s 100% wipeout. 

The May contract traded at $1.17 a barrel, after earlier trading at negative $14.04 a barrel, meaning traders would effectively pay to have the oil taken off their hands.

But in early Asian trading hours on Tuesday, the price of the May WTI contract returned to positive territory, trading at $1.35 a barrel. The June U.S. crude contract gained 3.23% to $21.09 a barrel. International benchmark Brent crude futures, on the other hand, dipped 0.9% to $25.34 a barrel.

Asia stocks fell in Tuesday morning trade as uncertainty weighed over the health of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

CNN reported Tuesday, citing an unnamed U.S. official with direct knowledge, that Washington is “monitoring intelligence” that Kim is in “grave danger after a surgery.”

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 2.28%, while South Korea’s Kospi dropped 1.73%. The South Korean won also weakened significantly against the greenback as it traded at 1,233.68 per dollar.

Earnings come from SAP, PSA and Kering on Tuesday and unemployment claimant data for the U.K. in March is due, as well as Germany’s ZEW survey of economic sentiment for April.

— CNBC’s Pippa Stevens and Eustance Huang contributed to this story.

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