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Global stocks pull back on coronavirus resurgence, dampening US stimulus hopes

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TOKYO (Reuters) – Global stocks slipped Thursday as investors stalled recent gains amid growing concerns over the resurgence of COVID-19 infections and after the U.S. Treasury Secretary dashed any remaining hopes of a stimulus plan before the November 3 elections.

FILE PHOTO: Investor uses his cell phone in front of a stock quotation board at a brokerage office in Beijing, China January 3, 2020. REUTERS / Jason Lee

European equities should open lower, with pan-European futures Euro Stoxx50 STXEc1 falling 0.7%. The largest MSCI index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside of Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS fell 0.6% while Japan’s Nikkei .N225 fell 0.5%.

US S&P 500 ESc1 futures fell 0.25% in Asia after major US stock indices ended the previous session lower, with the S&P 500 .SPX closing 0.7% lower and the composite index Nasdaq .IXIC Shedding 0.8%.

The New York FANG Plus .NYFANG Index of top U.S. tech companies struggled to climb from its record high in September, with investors lacking the conviction to test new highs.

My gut is that many investors are aware that these growth stocks have been overbought and that the US election could change the market engine, said Kenji Hashizume, senior fund manager at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management in Hong Kong. .

Fears that a resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic could lead governments to shut down economies again have boosted profit taking.

With the surge in COVID-19 cases, some European countries are closing schools, canceling surgery and enlisting medical students as overwhelmed authorities preparing for a repeat of the nightmare scenario seen earlier this year.

This has helped push the German 10-year Bund yield as low as minus 0.586% DE10YT = RR, a rate last seen in May.

Adverse comments from U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that a stimulus deal was unlikely before the November 3 vote also provided another excuse for profit taking.

Still, many investors expect a strong post-election revival, which Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is increasingly expected to win.

While Biden was seen as more likely to raise taxes on corporate profits and capital gains, investors also point to other potential benefits of a Biden presidency, such as less global business uncertainty.

It smacks of opportunism when the markets said just a few months ago that stocks would crash if Trump lost and now they say a Biden win would be good for stocks, said Norihiro Fujito, chief strategist. investments at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities. This suggests that the markets are teeming with liquidity after massive monetary easing from global central banks.

In foreign currencies, the pound was up well at 1.3017 GBP = D4, after climbing 0.6% on Wednesday on hopes of progress in negotiations between Britain and the European Union.

But some of the enthusiasm was lost after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen he was disappointed that there had not been more progress in the talks.

The Australian dollar lost 0.5% to $ 0.7128 = D4 after the country’s central bank fueled speculation on short-term interest rate cuts and longer-term government debt purchases.

The need for further stimulus in Australia was underscored by data showing 29,500 jobs were lost in October, as the unemployment rate rose a notch to 6.9%.

The euro was little moved at $ 1.1725 EUR = while the dollar changed hands at 105.20 yen JPY =.

The Thai baht THB = has so far withstood the impact of growing protests against the government, as the country has been subject to sometimes violent political collisions for years.

Oil prices edged up slightly after US crude inventories fell last week, adding 2% gains overnight, as OPEC and its allies fully complied in September with their pact to cut oil. the production.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures on CLc1 crude rose 0.1% to $ 41.07 per barrel while Brent futures on LCOc1 rose 0.1% to 43 , $ 34 per barrel.

Additional reporting by Suzanne Barlyn in New York; Editing by Sam Holmes and Jacqueline Wong

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