European shares headed lower on Wednesday after a five-day rally, with investors turning to the first-quarter earnings season to gauge the extent of the business damage from the coronavirus pandemic.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was down 0.2 percent at 0713 GMT, after surging almost eight percent since April 6 on early signs the health crisis was ebbing and on hopes that sweeping lockdown measures would soon be lifted.

Benchmark index has recovered about 24%

Economy
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The benchmark index has recovered about 24 percent since hitting an eight-year low in March but is still down about 22 percent from its record high and analysts warn an uptick in coronavirus cases could spark another sell-off.

French shares .FCHI fell 0.3 percent as France became the fourth country to report more than 15,000 deaths due to the coronavirus after Italy, Spain and the United States. Dutch navigation and digital mapping company TomTom shed 2.7 percent after saying it expected negative free cash flow this year and lower revenue from its automotive and consumer businesses due to the pandemic.