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Stocks fall, bonds steady as virus spurs caution: markets wrap

The dollar paused a three-day climb and the yen held gains.
Image: Noriko Hayashi/Bloomberg

A retreat in global stocks extended into Tuesday as the threat posed to the economic recovery from the spread of the delta coronavirus variant supported havens such as Treasuries.

Equities fell in Hong Kong, Japan and China, with cyclicals like energy and industrial stocks among the weakest performers in the Asian retreat. Apple Inc.’s move to push back its return-to-office plans due to virus flareups tempered an advance in S&P 500 contracts. The S&P 500 fell the most in two months overnight as the reopening trade reversed. European futures wavered.

Long-term Treasury rates were steady after spiraling Monday to their lowest since February, flattening the yield curve. Ten-year yields hovered below 1.2%. The dollar paused a three-day climb and the yen held gains.

Brent oil was steady after tumbling to an eight-week low amid a broader market rout on concerns about the impact of the Covid-19 resurgence on energy demand. Bitcoin fell below the closely watched $30 000 level.

Traders are trying to gauge how long a bout of growth angst and volatility driven by outbreaks of the delta strain will last, after becoming accustomed to retail investors buying dips in stocks. Officials are grappling with rising infections from Sydney and Jakarta to London, with the US telling its citizens to avoid traveling to the UK because of the latter’s case spike.

“The market might be a bit worried, though the worries might be overstated,” Marcella Chow, JPMorgan Asset Management global market strategist, said on Bloomberg Television. “We expect the economic recovery story to continue for the second half of the year and this should benefit the value rotation story once again.”

In China, investor confidence in China Evergrande Group is collapsing amid mounting signs that the world’s most indebted developer faces a cash crunch. The property giant’s stock tumbled to a four-year low.

Some key events to watch this week:

  • Reserve Bank of Australia meeting minutes Tuesday
  • European Central Bank rate decision Thursday
  • Bank Indonesia rate decision Thursday
  • US existing home sales Thursday
  • The Tokyo Summer Olympics begin Friday

Here are some of the main market moves:

Stocks

  • S&P 500 futures rose 0.2% as of 1:44 p.m. in Tokyo. The S&P 500 fell 1.6%.
  • Nasdaq 100 futures gained 0.4%. The Nasdaq 100 fell 0.9%
  • Japan’s Topix index fell 0.9%
  • Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.7%
  • South Korea’s Kospi index lost 0.9%
  • Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index retreated 1.2%
  • China’s Shanghai Composite index declined 0.5%
  • Euro Stoxx 50 futures rose 0.1%

Currencies

  • The Japanese yen was at 109.45 per dollar
  • The offshore yuan was at 6.4939 per dollar
  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed
  • The euro was at $1.1791, down 0.1%

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries held at 1.19%. It tumbled 10 basis points earlier
  • Australia’s 10-year government bond yield fell about seven basis points to 1.17%

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude rose 0.2% to $66.52 a barrel. It tumbled 7.5% earlier.
  • Gold was at $1 816.88 an ounce, up 0.2%
© 2021 Bloomberg

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