Global stock markets sink as U.S. virus concerns offset Europe rebound hopes
By David Randall NEW YORK (Reuters) - Global equities sank and perceived safe-haven assets like U.S. Treasuries and gold gained on Friday as investors weighed hopes that Europe will continue to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic's economic damage against concerns over a record surge in new COVID-19 infections in the United States. The euro zone is 'probably past' the worst of the economic crisis, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said, while urging authorities to prepare for a possible second wave
By David Randall
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Global equities sank and perceived safe-haven assets like U.S. Treasuries and gold gained on Friday as investors weighed hopes that Europe will continue to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic's economic damage against concerns over a record surge in new COVID-19 infections in the United States.
The euro zone is "probably past" the worst of the economic crisis, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said, while urging authorities to prepare for a possible second wave.
There were at least 39,818 new coronavirus cases across the United States on Thursday, the largest one-day increase yet. The governor of Texas temporarily halted the state's reopening as infections and hospitalizations surged.
MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe shed 1.25% following broad declines in Europe and slight gains in Asia. The index is up approximately 40% since its March lows.
"Even though we continue to see some pretty scary virus numbers coming out of the U.S., it's not really dented sentiment – not to any sustained degree at least," said Timothy Graf, head of macro strategy for EMEA at State Street Global Markets.
In midday trading on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 606.52 points, or 2.36%, to 25,139.08, the S&P 500 lost 60.95 points, or 1.98%, to 3,022.81 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 196.04 points, or 1.96%, to 9,820.97
The euro gained versus the U.S. dollar and was on track for its biggest weekly rise in three weeks after the ECB reaffirmed its dovish stance in the minutes of its latest policy meeting.
Concerns about the economic fallout from the surge in U.S. coronavirus cases helped bolster perceived safe havens. The dollar index rose 0.07%, while benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury notes last rose 12/32 in price to yield 0.6348%, from 0.674% late on Thursday.
Spot gold added 0.3% to $1,766.71 an ounce. U.S. gold futures gained 0.15% to $1,764.70 an ounce.
Credit Suisse changed its position on global equities to "neutral" from "overweight," saying it was taking profits after the recent rally, but kept its overweight positions in credit markets.
"The upcoming earnings season, a recent uptick in coronavirus infection numbers and political developments in the USA create a challenging backdrop for financial markets going into the summer," said Michael Strobaek, Credit Suisse's global chief investment officer.
Record high inventories and fears of declining demand pushed oil prices lower. U.S. crude recently fell 1.42% to $38.17 per barrel and Brent was at $40.68, down 0.9% on the day.
(Reporting by David Randall; Editing by Paul Simao and Dan Grebler)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.