The Paris Bourse cracked at the start of the session on Friday, falling more than 4.03%, caught up like other world places by the emergence of a new variant particularly contagious in South Africa.
The flagship CAC 40 index fell 285.26 points to 6,790.61 points around 9:30 am, canceling its gains since the beginning of the month.
Black Friday turns into Red Friday
", summarizes Christian Parisot, broker Aurel BGC.
Read alsoEuropean stock markets plunge at the opening
Elsewhere in Europe, the trend was similar with losses of over 3% in London or Frankfurt. The movement, visible in all financial places in the world, was triggered after the announcement of the detection of a new variant of Covid-19 in South Africa, called for the moment B.1.1.529. It has the potential for very rapid spread, according to scientists, who at this point do not know whether currently available vaccines are effective against it.
On Thursday evening, the United Kingdom announced that it would ban entry at 12 p.m. GMT to travelers from six southern African countries.
Germany has announced for its part to refuse entry into its territory from Friday evening to foreign travelers from South Africa, Italy extending this ban to a total of seven southern African countries.
For two weeks, health concerns have returned to the market.
In the state of mind of the last few days, we felt a form of mistrust, without going as far as stress, with for example an increase in volatility
", explains to AFP Alexandre Baradez, analyst of IG France.
The Paris index has been evolving for several weeks at historic levels
Despite the health restrictions already tightened in many European countries, going as far as reconfinements, macroeconomic concerns about inflation, or even the announced decline in central bank support measures for the markets, investors "
could expect a a little more significant moment to take profits
”, and the announcement of a new variant was finally the trigger, he believes. Especially since the Paris index has been evolving for several weeks at historic levels, having reached 7,183 points in mid-November.
In addition, the movement can be accentuated with "
with the low liquidity available
" on the markets currently, estimates Michael Hewson, analyst of CMC Markets.
After a holiday Thursday for Thanksgiving, Wall Street only opens for half a day on Friday.
Investors headed for the bond market, a place of refuge in times of uncertainty: the interest on the French 10-year loan fell to 0.05%, against 0.12% at the close the day before.
Read also Stock market: Paris expected to drop sharply, against a backdrop of a new variant
Leisure and travel values were particularly affected: Airbus lost 13.59%, Safran 10.69%.
In transport, Renault fell by 7.72%, and Stellantis by 5.79%.
The Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield property collapsed for its share of 13.55%.
Even luxury, heavyweight in the rating, was in sharp decline: LVMH yielded 3.97%, Kering 4.45%.
The only value in the spotlight on Friday, the French giant of analysis laboratories Eurofins Scientific soared 6.32%.