stock markets

Global stocks plunge on virus restrictions, US jobs data

Agence France-Presse
Global stocks plunge on virus restrictions, US jobs data

A display showing the name of the German stock market is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, on March 12, 2020. - Shortly after the opening, Frankfurt's DAX 30 plunged 5.8 percent under 10.000 points, for the first time since 2016. European stock markets dived more than five percent at the start of trading on March 12, 2020 following turmoil across Asia and overnight on Wall Street on heightened fears over the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Daniel ROLAND / AFP)


Stocks in Europe, the United States, and Asia all slump on Thursday, October 15

Global stock markets plunged on Thursday, October 15, with investor sentiment hammered by fears that tighter coronavirus restrictions could derail the tentative economic recovery.

In London, equities closed 1.7% lower after the British government announced that the capital faces more stringent coronavirus restrictions as case numbers rise. 

Paris suffered a drop of more than 2% after the French government announced a curfew for the capital and 8 other cities – covering almost a third of the country’s population – for as long as 6 weeks.

And Frankfurt stocks lost 2.5% after Germany also ramped up COVID-19 restrictions, while the European Union (EU)’s disease control agency labeled more than half of the bloc’s member states as red zones in a new map to guide countries’ decisions on travel restrictions.

“Dealers are dumping stocks for fear that economic activity will drop off because of the tighter restrictions in various parts of Europe,” said CMC Markets analyst David Madden.

“The latest restrictions are likely to hamper Europe’s economic recovery – which was already running out of steam before the health woes ramped up again.”

Across the Atlantic, the Dow fell 0.1% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq slumped half a percentage point amid a slew of unwelcome news.

Labor Department data showed new applications for US jobless benefits rose to a 7-week high of 898,000 last week, an increase of 53,000.

That was the sharpest rise in seasonally-adjusted initial claims in two months as the United States attempts to recover from mass layoffs caused by virus-related business shutdowns earlier this year.

The deadlock over additional US stimulus spending was also set to continue, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin saying a deal is unlikely before the November 3 election.

Asian markets had earlier also closed well deep in the red.

Deadlock everywhere

The pound fell as EU leaders met to discuss post-Brexit trade talks, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging them to give ground or see Britain walk away with no deal, while oil prices also struggled.

Equities have been benefiting in recent weeks from investors’ belief Republicans and Democrats will eventually reach a deal on another package of measures to support the US economy.

But this week’s worsening news has taken a toll, with the Dow closing lower the last 3 sessions.

Analysts said traders are taking comfort from the possibility that Joe Biden and the Democrats will win the presidency and both houses of Congress in the election, paving the way for a bigger stimulus than anything that could be agreed before the vote.

Key figures around 8:15 pm GMT
  • New York – Dow Jones: DOWN 0.1% at 28,494.20 (close) 
  • New York – S&P 500: DOWN 0.2% at 3,483.34 (close) 
  • New York – Nasdaq: DOWN 0.5% at 11,713.87 (close) 
  • London – FTSE 100: DOWN 1.7% at 5,832.52 points (close)
  • Frankfurt – DAX 30: DOWN 2.5% at 12,703.75 (close)
  • Paris – CAC 40: DOWN 2.1% at 4,837.35 (close)
  • EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 2.6% at 3,192.69 (close)
  • Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.5% at 23,507.23 (close)
  • Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 2.1% at 24,158.54 (close)
  • Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.3% at 3,332.18 (close)
  • Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1702 from $1.1746 at 9 pm GMT
  • Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2896 from $1.3012
  • Dollar/yen: UP at 105.42 yen from 105.17 yen
  • Euro/pound: UP at 90.73 pence from 90.27 pence
  • West Texas Intermediate: FLAT at $41.03 per barrel
  • Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.3% at $43.20


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