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Stocks Retreat as Investors Fear Rally Was Overdone

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07/07/2020 | 05:42am EDT

By Anna Hirtenstein

Global stock markets were mostly lower Tuesday as investors grew anxious that the recent rally has gone too far given the patchy economic recovery.

Futures tied to the S&P 500 fell 0.7%, suggesting a pullback when U.S. markets open. The stock index closed higher for the fifth straight day on Monday, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq hit a record.

The pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 slipped 1% Tuesday after reaching its highest level in nearly a month.

"Some investors will be taking profit after yesterday's rally," said Sebastien Galy, a macro strategist at Nordea Asset Management. "This isn't helped by the disappointment seen in Germany's industrial production -- when Germany coughs, everybody catches a cold."

Data released on German industrial production showed a rebound in activity in May after the country eased its lockdown, but came in below consensus expectations. Activity was still at least 20% below levels seen in February. Germany's DAX stock index traded down as much as 1.3%, among the worst performing gauges in Europe.

It "shows how difficult the return to normality will be," said Carsten Brzeski, chief economist for the eurozone at ING. "After the lifting of the lockdown measures, businesses must have been more reluctant than consumers."

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite closed up 0.4%, continuing a rally on Monday that pushed the index to its highest point since 2018. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index edged down 1.4% and Japan's Nikkei 225 slipped 0.4%.

The yield on 10-year Treasurys fell to 0.674% from 0.683% on Monday, declining for the second day as some investors sought safety. The WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the dollar against a basket of currencies, edged up 0.2%.

The Australian dollar weakened 0.6% against the greenback after the Reserve Bank of Australia kept its policy rate at 0.25%. The country's benchmark stock index S&P ASX 200 initially climbed 0.4% but ended the day flat after Melbourne, the second-largest city, was locked down again in response to a second wave of coronavirus cases.

Investors are keeping a close eye on Covid-19 infection rates.

"We are in a situation where the latest news from the U.S., Germany, parts of the U.K. and the Melbourne lockdown in Australia, it just acts as a reminder to investors that not everything is going to proceed on a smooth trajectory," said Peter Dixon, an economist at Commerzbank.

Crude oil prices slipped. Brent, the global benchmark, retreated 0.8% and traded at $42.54 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate futures, the U.S. crude gauge, fell 1%.

Write to Anna Hirtenstein at anna.hirtenstein@wsj.com


Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
DAX 0.11% 12955.69 Delayed Quote.-2.28%
DJ INDUSTRIAL -0.38% 27686.91 Delayed Quote.-2.62%
HANG SENG 1.29% 25228.1 Real-time Quote.-11.65%
NASDAQ 100 -1.89% 10876.079515 Delayed Quote.24.54%
NASDAQ COMP. -1.69% 10782.822689 Delayed Quote.20.18%
NIKKEI 225 0.41% 22843.96 Real-time Quote.-3.83%
S&P 500 -0.80% 3333.69 Delayed Quote.3.19%
S&P/ASX 200 -0.11% 6132 Real-time Quote.-8.16%
SHANGHAI STOCK EXCHANGE B SHARES INDEX -0.15% 235.573 Real-time Quote.-8.14%
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