European shares fell today after two days of gains in a row as the still rapidly spreading coronavirus and fears of a deep global recession overshadowed optimism from a historic $2 trillion US fiscal stimulus deal. 

The London FTSE was down 0.8% this afternoon, while the Frankfurt DAX lost 1.2% and Paris was down 0.8%.

But shares in Dublin reversed their earlier losses to stand 1% higher this afternoon with the banks making back some of their recent heavy losses. 

Global stock markets also struggled to hold on to early gains as investors braced for a surge in US jobless claims.

Estimates range from 250,000 to a whopping 4 million as economic activity ground to a halt under state-wide lockdowns.

Asian markets closed with losses in earlier trade on profit taking. Tokyo's Nikkei index finished 4.5% lower while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was down 0.7%.