* U.S. stock futures fall 0.5% on France lockdown report
* Caution grows over Biden victory bet in U.S. election
* Wall St volatility index at highest in nearly 2 months
TOKYO, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Global shares slipped on Wednesday
as coronavirus infections grew at an alarming pace in the United
States and Europe, while uncertainty over next week's U.S.
elections added to a "risk off" tone.
MSCI's ex-Japan Asia index dipped 0.15% in
early trade while Japan's Nikkei fell 0.6%.
Futures for U.S. S&P500, Dow Jones and Nasdaq
all fell 0.5%-0.6% in Asian trade on Wednesday, rattled
by a media report that French government may bring in a national
lockdown from midnight on Thursday.
The United States, Russia, France and other countries have
registered record numbers of infections in recent days, and
European governments have introduced new curbs to try to rein in
the fast-growing outbreaks.
Data on Tuesday showed U.S. consumer confidence unexpectedly
fell in October, although other economic figures were mostly
positive, with orders for key capital goods hitting a six-year
The fall in U.S. stock futures came after a mixed session on
Wall Street, where the S&P 500 lost 0.30% on virus
worries while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite added
Microsoft kicked off a slate of reporting from tech
heavyweights by beating Wall Street estimates for quarterly
revenue, buoyed by its flagship cloud computing business amid
increased work-from-home arrangements. But its shares slipped
1.7% after the bell.
Apple Inc, Amazon.com, and Google-parent
Alphabet are among major tech players reporting later
MEMORY OF 2016
Investors appeared content to steer clear of risk with
looming uncertainty, headlined by the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential
As former Vice President Joe Biden has enjoyed a consistent
lead over President Donald Trump, investors have been cautiously
betting on his victory and possibly a "blue wave" outcome, where
Democrats take back the Senate as well.
Still the presidential race is closer in battleground states
that could determine the outcome, leaving investors on edge.
"It appears the gap between Biden and Trump is shrinking a
bit lately. In particular, Biden's lead in swing states doesn't
look that different from (Democratic candidate) Hilary Clinton's
in 2016," said Nobuhiko Kuramochi, market strategist at Mizuho
"People still remember the 2016 experience and those who
have bet on a blue wave are probably taking some profits now
ahead of the event," he added.
Wall Street's volatility index, a measure of market
expectations in share price swings, rose to 33.35, its highest
in almost two months.
Some market players see that as a sign more investors are
wary of the possibility that the election outcome can be
contested, possibly leaving markets in limbo for weeks.
That would likely further delay any negotiation on economic
relief package U.S. policymakers have been struggling to agree
on. Trump acknowledged an economic relief package would likely
come after the Nov. 3 election.
In the currency market, the euro edged lower on concerns
about a possible lockdown in France, trading at $1.1779, down
The safe-haven yen is well supported at 104.42 yen per
dollar, not far from its six-month high of 104 touched
Investors also bought back U.S. Treasuries, another
safe-haven asset, pushing down their yields.
The benchmark 10-year yield dropped to 0.766%,
down 1.2 basis point so far on Wednesday and way below its 4
1/2-month high of 0.872% hit on Friday.
Gold was little changed at $1,906.0 per ounce.
Oil prices gave up much of their gains made the previous day
as a jump in U.S. crude inventories and surging COVID-19 cases
raised fears of an oversupply of oil and weak fuel demand.
By 0205 GMT, Brent crude was trading down 1.9% at
$40.42 a barrel, while U.S. crude fell 2.3% to $38.67 per
(Reporting by Hideyuki Sano; additional reporting by Pete
Schroeder; editing by Richard Pullin)