European stock markets steadied at the start of trading on Wednesday after rallying the previous session, as easing lockdown measures offset extremely weak business data caused by the coronavirus fallout.
London's benchmark FTSE 100 index gained 0.1 percent to 5,852.10 points, compared with Tuesday's closing level.
In the eurozone, Frankfurt's DAX 30 index eased 0.2 percent to 10,712.70 points and the Paris CAC 40 dipped 0.1 percent to 4,477.35.
German manufacturers saw new orders plunge by a record 15.6 percent in March, official data showed Wednesday.
The release came as a draft agreement revealed that Germany, Europe's biggest economy, will take new steps towards normalisation in May, including reopening shops and schools after weeks of shutdown imposed to control the spread of COVID-19.
"Currently the markets have been pricing in the expectation that economies will be able to pick up reasonably well from where they left off pre-coronavirus crisis," said Fiona Cincotta, analyst at City Index trading group.
"However, with growing job losses and a change in dynamic in certain industries, such as aviation, and potentially many other sectors such as retail, restaurants, gyms and bars, it's becoming increasingly clear that this will be a rocky road to recovery," she added.