- Global stocks fell on Monday, as surging cases of COVID-19 in Europe rattled investors over the largest regional outbreak in recent weeks.
- Shares of European banks dragged regional indices lower following reports that they moved large sums of money from suspicious transactions over nearly twenty years.
- US futures pointed to a fourth day of declines later on when Wall Street opens.
- British pharma group AstraZeneca’s US clinical trial of a COVID-19 vaccine is still on hold.
- The US ban on all new downloads of TikTok and WeChat is also on hold as President Donald Trump said he had given his “blessing” to a deal with Oracle.
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Global stocks fell on Monday as France, Spain, and the UK reported thousands of new coronavirus cases over the weekend, raising fears of a second wave of the disease that could bring tighter lockdowns and restrictions on activity.
Equity benchmarks declined broadly, but European indices were the worst hit, following the largest outbreak in Europe in recent weeks with 3,899 new cases in the UK, over 10,000 in France, and more than 14,000 in Spain.
Germany’s DAX fell 2.5%, Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 2.9%, and the Euro Stoxx 50 fell 2.3%. The euro fell 0.2% against the dollar.
“The threat of the return of large scale COVID-19 lockdowns in the UK and Europe” will add to further gloom for investors, said Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at OANDA.
The regional index was dragged down further by shares in European banks that tumbled on reports that they facilitated large sums of suspicious transactions over nearly two decades.
HSBC dropped by 4.4% to a 25-year-low, Standard Chartered fell 4.2%, and Deutsche Bank lost 5.7% in early European trading on Monday.
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Elsewhere, US futures declined as the Dow 30, S&P 500, and Nasdaq 100 fell between 1% and 1.4%, suggesting that the slide that has taken place over the last three weeks could continue into this week.
Anxiously awaiting news of a successful COVID-19 vaccine, investors were further discouraged by AstraZeneca saying its US clinical trial for a COVID-19 vaccine was still on hold.
The British-Swedish pharmaceutical firm’s trial was suspended earlier this month after a volunteer was hospitalized and reportedly diagnosed with a condition that causes inflammation in the spinal cord.
Geopolitical tensions added to the pressure on risk assets, such as stocks, while perceived safe-havens such as government bonds gained. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury note was last down nearly 4 basis points on the day at 0.661 percent.
China’s Ministry of Commerce issued a statement accusing the US of bullying on Saturday. “If the US insists on going its own way, China will take necessary measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies,” the ministry said in a statement per The Guardian.
After the US first announced Friday that it would ban all new downloads of TikTok and WeChat on Friday, the order is now officially on hold for a week.
The postponement came the same day Trump told reporters he had given his “blessing” to a deal between TikTok and US tech giant Oracle.
Asian indexes finished lower with China’s Shanghai Composite down 0.6%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng down 2.2%, and Japan’s Nikkei about flat.
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