Global stocks mostly lower as infection numbers rattle investors

Agence France-Presse
The Dow and S&P 500 finish firmly lower on Thursday, July 9. Bourses in London, Paris, and Frankfurt also retreat.

FINANCIAL DISTRICT. An American flag hangs from a building in the Financial District of Manhattan in New York City on September 3, 2019. File photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP

NEW YORK, USA – European and United States stocks finished mostly lower on Thursday, July 9, amid lingering worries over the coronavirus, although the Nasdaq powered to another record behind strength in technology shares.

The World Health Organization amplified warnings about COVID-19 as millions of people in Australia’s second biggest city, Melbourne, went into lockdown to battle another outbreak, while several US states reported new record peaks on new daily cases of the virus.

Wall Street investors have largely shrugged off the rising number of US cases, although there have been intermittent waves of selling in recent weeks as new hot spots emerge.

A report Thursday from Goldman Sachs said more broad US lockdowns may not be needed in light of widening use of face masks, as well as the success several states have had in containing the spread of the virus with more limited measures.

“Nevertheless, large risks clearly remain, and further lockdowns cannot be ruled out,” Goldman said.

In contrast to the tech-rich Nasdaq, which posted its 5th record close in the past 6 sessions, the Dow and S&P 500 finished firmly lower amid weakness in banks, petroleum producers, and airlines.

Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research, attributed Thursday’s weakness to spiking coronavirus cases, as well as to a Supreme Court ruling that President Donald Trump must hand over his tax returns to New York prosecutors.

Although Trump’s financial records may remain private until after the November election, the ruling marks another strike against the president as the US contends with massive job losses due to the pandemic.

“The market is getting increasing signs that Trump is going to be replaced,” Stovall said.

Bourses in London, Paris, and Frankfurt retreated.

“Risk appetite is struggling as the coronavirus spread is still not under control in most parts of the world and as geopolitical tensions between China and the West intensify,” said Edward Moya, an analyst with OANDA.

There was better news in Asia earlier, where Shanghai rallied more than 1% as data showed a pickup in inflation that indicates the world’s number two economy continues to improve.

In other markets, oil prices tumbled on worries about weak demand due to the coronavirus.

Key figures around 8:40 pm GMT

  • New York – Dow: DOWN 1.4% at 25,706.09 (close)
  • New York – S&P 500: DOWN 0.6% at 3,152.05 (close)
  • New York – Nasdaq: DOWN 0.5% at 10,547.75 (close)
  • London – FTSE 100: DOWN 1.7% at 6,049.62 (close)
  • Frankfurt – DAX 30: DOWN less than 0.1% at 12,489.46 (close)
  • Paris – CAC 40: DOWN 1.2% at 4,921.01 (close) 
  • EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.8% at 3,261.17 (close)
  • Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.4% at 22,529.29 (close)
  • Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 0.3% at 26,210.16 (close)
  • Shanghai – Composite: UP 1.4% at 3,450.59 (close)
  • West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 3.1% at $39.62 per barrel
  • Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 2.2% at $42.35 per barrel
  • Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1282 from $1.1330 at 9 pm GMT
  • Dollar/yen: DOWN at 107.17 yen from 107.26 yen
  • Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2604 from $1.2610
  • Euro/pound: DOWN at 89.49 pence from 89.85 pence