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Global Markets: Stocks tumble as coronavirus lockdowns loom; dollar rises

10/28/2020 | 09:36pm EST
The German share price index DAX graph at the stock exchange in Frankfurt

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks sank across the globe on Wednesday on concerns that rising COVID-19 cases in Europe, the United States and elsewhere will get in the way of fragile economic recoveries, while the U.S. dollar rose on safe-haven bids.

Benchmark Treasury yields fell alongside the price of oil and gold was under pressure from the rising dollar.

On Wall Street, the energy and technology sectors of the S&P 500 were among the hardest hit.

"Whether you call it a continuation of the pandemic or a third wave of new case discovery - it is the largest concern," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities in New York.

"Unless and until we get through this pandemic, it is hard for investors to imagine a better economic time."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 824.06 points, or 3%, to 26,639.13, the S&P 500 lost 98.51 points, or 2.91%, to 3,292.17 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 334.78 points, or 2.93%, to 11,096.58.

European shares closed at their lowest since late May as Germany and France prepared to announce restrictions approaching the level of the nationwide lockdowns in the spring, as COVID-19 deaths across Europe jumped almost 40% in a week.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 2.95%, touching its lowest level since May. MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe <.MIWD00000PUS> shed 2.53%.

Asian shares lost ground after initially showing some resilience, in part due to more limited COVID-19 outbreaks and better recoveries in the region's major economies.

Emerging market stocks lost 1.18%. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> closed 0.66% lower, while Japan's Nikkei <.N225> lost 0.29%.

Concerns over a rising wave of COVID-19 infections played out in currency and bond markets, too, with the euro slumping against the dollar.

The dollar index rose 0.291%, with the euro down 0.37% to $1.1751.

The Japanese yen strengthened 0.15% versus the greenback to 104.29 per dollar, while sterling was last trading at $1.2985, down 0.44% on the day.

Adding to the mood of uncertainty was the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential election.

Former Vice President Joe Biden has enjoyed a consistent lead in the polls over President Donald Trump. Investors cautiously bet on his victory and a possible "blue wave" outcome, where Democrats control both chambers of Congress.

UBS strategist Vassili Serebriakov said a Biden administration would be seen as de-escalating trade tensions with traditional allies such as Europe and Canada, as well as China, which should improve market sentiment overall and weigh on the dollar as a safe haven.

Treasury yields fell as traders moved away from risk assets.

Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 2/32 in price to yield 0.771%, from 0.778% late on Tuesday.

Escalating coronavirus infections weighed on oil prices by stoking fears of a supply glut and weaker fuel demand. Also weighing on the market, U.S. crude stockpiles rose more than expected last week.

"Certainly the increase in oil production led to an unexpected build of crude oil and, given the additional lockdowns we are seeing in Europe, that is just further heaping bad news on the oil market," said Andy Lipow, president of consultants Lipow Oil Associates.

U.S. crude recently fell 5.74% to $37.30 per barrel and Brent was at $39.04, down 5.24% on the day.

Spot gold dropped 1.4% to $1,880.60 an ounce. Silver fell 4.68% to $23.40.

(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; additional reporting by Medha Singh and Shivani Kumaresan in Bengaluru and Kate Duguid, Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss and Scott DiSavino in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Mark Heinrich)

By Rodrigo Campos

© Reuters 2020
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
DJ INDUSTRIAL 0.89% 29908.6 Delayed Quote.4.81%
EURO / US DOLLAR (EUR/USD) 0.90% 1.20466 Delayed Quote.6.46%
LONDON BRENT OIL -0.52% 47.4 Delayed Quote.-27.86%
NASDAQ 100 1.69% 12479.064433 Delayed Quote.40.48%
NASDAQ COMP. 1.41% 12372.785817 Delayed Quote.36.03%
NIKKEI 225 1.34% 26787.54 Real-time Quote.11.74%
S&P 500 1.32% 3669.96 Delayed Quote.12.10%
SILVER 5.74% 23.954 Delayed Quote.27.06%
STOXX EUROPE 600 0.65% 391.9 Delayed Quote.-6.37%
STOXX EUROPE 600 NR 0.66% 863.1 Delayed Quote.-4.46%
UBS GROUP AG 0.89% 13.005 Delayed Quote.5.44%
WTI -1.18% 44.63 Delayed Quote.-26.43%
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