This content was published on October 28, 2020 – 16:08
(Bloomberg) — Stocks tumbled in the U.S. and Europe as rising coronavirus infections and tougher lockdowns added to worries about the economic hit from the pandemic.
The S&P 500 Index fell more than 2.5%, headed for the biggest drop in seven weeks, amid a surge in Covid-19 hospitalizations, especially in the Midwest. Energy shares sank with oil prices, and technology stocks were also among the worst performers. The VIX Index, a measure of expected U.S. equity volatility, climbed to the highest level since June.
Boeing Co. slumped to a one-month low as it announced plans for more job cuts. Microsoft Corp. was among the biggest drags on the S&P 500 as investors focused on a forecast that fell short of analysts’ highest projections, looking past a decisively upbeat profit and sales report. General Electric Co. gained after reporting a surprise profit.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell to a five-month low, losing more than 3% at one point after German Chancellor Angela Merkel reached a deal for a one-month partial lockdown to curb the spread of the virus. Auto and real-estate shares saw the steepest declines.
Markets in the U.S. and Europe have retreated sharply this week as virus cases surge and American lawmakers fail to agree on an economic aid package before the Nov. 3 election. Analysts are also warning about increased volatility in markets ahead of the presidential vote and in its aftermath, with some saying that a contested outcome is still a possibility.
“As you see cases rise and reduced activity across the country, that directly translates into an impact on GDP growth,” said Phil Toews, chief executive officer of asset manager Toews Corp. “The lack of a fiscal stimulus means people who were unemployed who were able to continue to purchase things are no longer going to be able to do that.”
Elsewhere, oil fell sharply on concern lockdowns will sap demand. Bitcoin headed to its biggest drop in almost two months after reaching the highest since January 2018.
In Asia, stocks fared better. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index edged lower on Wednesday, and markets in South Korea and Shanghai posted modest gains. In China, indicators tracked by Bloomberg showed the recovery continued to display mixed signals while remaining broadly steady in October.
These are some events to watch this week:
- Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank have monetary policy decisions Thursday, followed by briefings from Governor Haruhiko Kuroda and President Christine Lagarde.
- The Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee holds its plenum through Friday, where it’s expected to chart the course for the economy’s development for the next 15 years.
- Brexit negotiating teams have started intense daily talks, and these are likely to continue as both sides push to finalize a deal by the middle of November.
- The first reading of U.S. third-quarter GDP Thursday is anticipated to be the strongest on record following a record dive in the prior quarter as many businesses were shuttered by the pandemic.
Here are the main moves in markets:
- The S&P 500 Index dropped 2.4% as of 12:08 p.m. New York time.
- The Stoxx Europe 600 Index decreased 2.9%.
- The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.5%.
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index increased 0.7%.
- The British pound declined 0.4% to $1.2998.
- The Japanese yen gained 0.1% to 104.32 per dollar.
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries was little changed at 0.77%.
- Germany’s 10-year yield was little changed at -0.62%.
- Britain’s 10-year yield decreased one basis point to 0.22%.
- West Texas Intermediate crude sank 5.2% to $37.51 a barrel.
- Gold weakened 1.3% to $1,882.91 an ounce.
©2020 Bloomberg L.P.