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Stocks fluctuate; oil tumbles on virus concerns: markets wrap

Stocks slumped in Asia, with losses for the main indexes in Japan, Australia and Hong Kong.
Image: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

US investors remained on edge a day after stocks suffered their biggest rout in four months, keeping a wary eye on growing coronavirus infections. Oil plunged for a second day on concern lockdowns will sap demand.

The S&P 500 Index fluctuated as investors weighed better-than-forecast growth and jobs data with reports of spreading infection in the US and Europe. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 outperformed ahead of earnings reports from Apple, Amazon, Alphabet and Facebook due after the close. The dollar strengthened and Treasuries held steady.

In Europe, stocks slumped as coronavirus rages across some of the continent’s biggest economies. The euro slipped for a fourth session as the European Central Bank left interest rates unchanged while saying that December forecasts may allow it to recalibrate its pandemic stimulus program.

Global equities are headed for the worst weekly decline since March amid new lockdown measures and US politicians’ failure to agree to a new stimulus plan before the November 3 election. Record one-day virus cases surfaced in Italy, Spain and Germany, where Chancellor Angela Merkel said authorities can no longer track infections back to their sources, opening the door to exponential growth.

“The risk to the market is that case counts will spread until lockdowns are made mandatory and the economic activity is ground to a halt to limit the spread of the virus,” Ross Mayfield, investment strategy analyst at Baird. “The market has really been buoyed by optimism about reopening for a long time.”

Facebook and Alphabet are expected to report revenue growth aided by a rebound in the market for digital-advertising when they release third-quarter earnings later Thursday. Performance by peers Snap Inc. and Pinterest Inc. suggest that user growth generated by pandemic lockdowns is starting to boost spending as brands shift ad budgets to online platforms.

Stocks slumped in Asia, with losses for the main indexes in Japan, Australia and Hong Kong.

Here are the main market moves:

Stocks

  • The S&P 500 Index rose 0.2% as of 9:49 a.m. New York time.
  • The Nasdaq 100 Index increased 0.8%.
  • The Stoxx Europe 600 Index declined 0.7%.
  • The MSCI Asia Pacific Index decreased 0.4%.

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index increased 0.3%.
  • The British pound declined 0.4% to $1.2938.
  • The euro weakened 0.3% to $1.1707.
  • The Japanese yen was little changed at 104.34 per dollar.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries rose less than one basis point to 0.78%.
  • Germany’s 10-year yield declined one basis point to -0.64%.
  • Britain’s 10-year yield dipped one basis point to 0.20%.

Commodities

  • WTI crude declined 6.1% to $35.11 a barrel.
  • Gold weakened 0.7% to $1,864.89 an ounce.
© 2020 Bloomberg

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