(Bloomberg) – U.S. stocks were mixed, as restrictions to curb coronavirus cases rocked some optimism about earnings and plans for further stimulus.
The S&P 500 Index fell for the first time in the four-day week, with losses widening on reports the new strain of virus could be more deadly. Energy companies have been among the worst performers. IHS Markit data showing a recovery in manufacturing did little to boost sentiment. Intel Corp. fell after his new boss re-engaged in chipmaking, a move opposed by some investors.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell for the second week in a row as a measure of private sector activity in the eurozone fell deeper into contraction and Germany lowered its forecast for economic growth. Yields on German Treasuries and Bunds edged down and crude oil slipped below $ 53 a barrel.
The pound weakened after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK’s third lockdown could last until summer, while disappointing economic data added to investor fears. Italian stocks have underperformed and bond yields have risen after Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is considering a snap election.
This week’s global equity rally, boosted by expectations of economic support and vaccine deployment, comes to a halt as traders weigh in on still troubling trends in Covid-19. President Joe Biden, who is asking for $ 1.9 trillion in additional spending, has unveiled a strategy to tackle the virus while warning that the pandemic will get worse before it gets better. Restrictions have intensified from Germany and the UK to Hong Hong, and the European Central Bank has warned the eurozone is heading into a double-dip recession.
“The recent news on the pandemic has not been favorable,” said Jean-François Paren, global head of market research at Crédit Agricole. “Following the wave of post-election optimism from the United States, markets were faced with the reality of vaccine delivery and further lockdowns, and the prospect of a double dip in Europe.
Italy expects significant delays in its coronavirus vaccination program in the coming week due to lower shipments from manufacturers. Germany has said its vaccine shortage will last for the next six to eight weeks, with the country’s coronavirus death toll surpassing 50,000, while the UK has suffered its worst day of the pandemic.
Elsewhere, Bitcoin has rebounded to trade around $ 32,000 after falling below $ 30,000 earlier.
Here are the main movements in the markets:
- The S&P 500 lost 0.5% at 10:34 a.m. New York time.
- The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell 0.7%.
- The MSCI Asia Pacific index fell 0.7%.
- The MSCI Emerging Markets index fell 1%.
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index climbed 0.3%.
- The yen was at 103.78 to the dollar, down 0.3%.
- The euro rose 0.1% to $ 1.2178.
- The British pound weakened 0.5% to $ 1.3664.
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries fell one basis point to 1.10%.
- Germany’s 10-year yield fell one basis point to -0.51%.
- The UK’s 10-year yield fell one basis point to 0.32%.
- West Texas Intermediate crude fell 0.8% to $ 52.70 a barrel.
- Gold fell 0.9% to $ 1,852.94 an ounce.
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