European shares pause after record highs as virus fears grip

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(Reuters) – European shares slipped slightly from all-time highs on Friday, as the rising death toll from the coronavirus outbreak and the pace of the spreading infection dulled sentiment.

The pan-European stocks benchmark STOXX 600 () fell 0.2% at 0805 GMT as the number of deaths from the flu-like virus climbed to 636 and confirmed cases of infection rose to 31,161 in China.

With many companies halting operations and shuttering offices in the country, investors attempt to gauge the economic damage that may result from production and supply disruptions.

China-exposed sectors such as basic materials, luxury and auto stocks, which have seesawed over the past two weeks on virus fears, were the biggest decliners on the day. [MET/L] [O/R]

Norsk Hydro (OL:) was the worst performer on STOXX 600 after a reporting a quarterly profit miss.

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