Coronavirus Pandemic

Coronavirus surge and new restrictions batter stock markets

Filed on October 29, 2020
A broker sits under the display showing the evolution of the German Stock Market Index DAX is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, western Germany, on October 28, 2019, amid the new coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.


"Grim. That's the only word that can describe the markets on Wednesday," said Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell.

European and US stock markets tanked Wednesday while oil prices plunged over five per cent as investors braced for tighter lockdown measures to combat soaring coronavirus infection rates, dealers said.

Wall Street's main indices slumped, with the S&P 500 falling 3.5 per cent at the close, while Frankfurt ended the day down 4.2 per cent, Paris fell by 3.4 per cent and London lost 2.6 per cent, with sentiment plagued by an alarming surge in Covid-19 cases in Europe and the United States.

More than 500,000 new coronavirus cases were reported worldwide on Tuesday in a new record, according to a tally compiled by AFP.

French President Emmanuel Macron announced new virus lockdowns that take effect Thursday night, as doctors warned many hospitals are just days away from being overrun with patients.

The restrictions were unveiled a day after officials announced 523 coronavirus deaths in 24 hours -- the highest daily toll since April.

Just after trading ended German Chancellor Angela Merkel also unveiled drastic new curbs, including fresh shutdowns hitting leisure, sports and the food and drink sectors.

- Given up -

"Grim. That's the only word that can describe the markets on Wednesday," said Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell.

"Investors' Covid-19 fears (are) attacking stock prices in ways not seen since the start of the Western phase of the pandemic back in March."

The upsurge in coronavirus fears comes as investors have essentially given up on the chances of a new stimulus package out of Washington.

With US lawmakers unlikely to agree any new rescue package before Tuesday's presidential election, analysts said the new wave of virus infections and lingering uncertainty over the vote mean equities will face a wobbly few days.

US GDP is expected to show a record spike of around 30 per cent for the third quarter, but economists warn the big number was fueled by government aid that has now run out, and the gain obscures remaining signs of trouble, especially the slowing pace of recovery.

The government is set to release the first estimate for the quarter at 1230 GMT Thursday.

- Oil dumped -

The impact of this year's lockdowns and travel restrictions was laid bare Tuesday as the World Tourism Organization said the sector had seen a 70 per cent collapse in business, leading to a $730 billion loss in revenues, while the UN's trade body said foreign direct investment was likely to slump 40 per cent.

Shutdowns also dampen demand for oil, which saw prices tumble more than 5 per cent.

"Dealers were dumping oil as they took the view that demand is likely to decline on the back of the growing health crisis," said market analyst David Madden at CMC Markets UK.

- Key figures around 2am UAE time on Thursday -

New York - Dow: DOWN 3.4 per cent at 26,519.95 (close)

New York - S&P 500: DOWN 3.5 per cent at 3,271.03 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: DOWN 3.7 per cent at 11,004.87 (close)

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 2.6 per cent at 5,582.80 points (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 4.2 per cent at 11,560.51 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 3.4 per cent at 4,571.12 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 3.5 per cent at 2,963.54 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.3 per cent at 23,418.51 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 0.3 per cent at 24,708.80 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.5 per cent at 3,269.24 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1749 from $1.1796 at 1am UAE

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 104.31 yen from 104.42 yen

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2987 from $1.3044

Euro/pound: UP at 90.45 pence from 90.43 pence

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 5.6 per cent at $37.39 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 5.3 per cent at $39.03 per barrel

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