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Stocks tumble as coronavirus cases surge

10/28/2020 | 08:41am EST

U.S. stock futures are sharply down due to the impending return of lockdowns in Europe as coronavirus infections rise. The autumnal torpor that had taken hold of indices for the past few weeks has turned into anguish since Monday, leading to a second session of strong correction in Europe yesterday. The return of lockdown measures seems imminent on the old continent, with all the consequences this implies for economic activity.

"Covid-proof stocks" are back in demand, such as companies that sell products remotely. E-commerce is bound to explode as the holiday season approaches.

The return in force of contamination cases in Europe coincides with a season of results for the 3rd quarter that is much better than expected. It must be said that analysts had placed the cursor quite low and that companies had had the good sense, when announcing their half-yearly accounts, not to get too excited about annual targets. This double conservatism therefore leads to some fairly good surprises. A large series of results is again expected today, with more than 40 American companies listed in the S&P500 and more than 30 belonging to the STOXX Europe 600 index. However, the tone of the outlook is likely to get darker.

Investors are starting to list the elements that could restore confidence, which is deteriorating at a rapid rate. Last spring, all sorts of factors had contributed to a gradual improvement in morale. The illusion of a miracle vaccine that would be manufactured and distributed in a matter of weeks. The arrival of good weather that would help extinguish the pandemic. The holy grail of herd immunity…etc. This time, investors have a better grasp of what’s possible. The best prospect we have seems to be that of a vaccine, pending a more global immunity. But even if the first doses are available at the end of the year, it will take several months to vaccinate on a very large scale.

On the other side of the globe, the situation is much more positive. Asian countries have so far avoided a second wave that would be a real drag on the economy. Consumer confidence in South Korea increased compared to last month (91.6 points compared to 79.4). This level of confidence had not been reached since the beginning of the epidemic last February.

Finally, Thai industrial production experienced its smallest decline in 17 months and Malaysian exports grew by 13.8% to MYR 88.9 billion, an unprecedented increase in 2 years.

Today on the agenda, we have weekly oil stocks in the United States.

© MarketScreener.com 2020
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
DJ INDUSTRIAL 0.63% 29823.92 Delayed Quote.3.86%
NASDAQ 100 1.52% 12455.326441 Delayed Quote.40.48%
NASDAQ COMP. 1.28% 12355.105992 Delayed Quote.36.03%
S&P 500 1.13% 3662.45 Delayed Quote.13.36%