Global stock markets concluded the week on a lackluster note on Friday, September 18, as investors fretted over renewed coronavirus restrictions, the stuttering global economic recovery, and United States lawmakers’ failure to agree on new stimulus measures.
In Europe, London, Frankfurt, and Paris stocks all lost ground, while all 3 major US indices fell again to end the week with losses.
The downcast Wall Street session came as the United States cracked down again on TikTok, heightening tensions with China.
“Continued drama in Washington added to the mix, amid the looming highly contentious presidential election and a nonexistent fiscal relief package,” a note from Charles Schwab said.
But it is the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that continues to spook investors, and a swathe of fresh spikes around the world prompted the reimposition of containment measures including lockdowns.
“Coronavirus dominated the session,” said Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell, saying a raft of new restrictions, notably in northeastern England, penalized stocks. Owner of British Airways IAG was hit particularly hard, giving up 14.6% in the latest sign of the virus’ blow to the aviation industry.
Britain’s government warned it could impose further restrictions across England to combat rising infections, noting hospitalization rates are doubling every 8 days.
France has been seeing virus deaths trend upwards and hospital admissions rise, and Spain’s capital Madrid demanded government action as the virus threatened to overwhelm the city.
“The threat of a second round of COVID-19 restrictions…has dented confidence, with the travel sector in particular feeling the heat as we head into the weekend,” said Joshua Mahony, senior market analyst at online trading firm IG.
Worldwide, the respiratory disease has killed nearly 947,000 people since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by Agence France-Presse, while more than 30.2 million cases have been registered.
Adding to the unease was Friday’s move by the Trump administration to ban downloads of popular video app TikTok and effectively block the use of the Chinese super-app WeChat on US national security grounds.
The clampdown follows through on a threat by Trump, who has claimed Chinese tech operations may be used for spying.
A deal which appeared to be taking shape would allow Silicon Valley giant Oracle to become the tech partner for TikTok, but some US lawmakers have objected to allowing ByteDance to keep a stake.
Key figures around 8:50 pm GMT
- New York – Dow Jones: DOWN 0.9% at 27,657.42 (close)
- New York – S&P 500: DOWN 1.1% at 3,319.47 (close)
- New York – Nasdaq: DOWN 1.1% at 10,793.28 (close)
- London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.7% at 6,007.05 (close)
- Frankfurt – DAX 30: DOWN 0.7% at 13,116.25 (close)
- Paris – CAC 40: DOWN 1.2% at 4,978.18 (close)
- EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 1% at 3,283.69 (close)
- Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.2% at 23,326.00 (close)
- Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 0.5% at 24,455.41 (close)
- Shanghai – Composite: UP 2.1% at 3,338.09 (close)
- Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1845 from $1.1848 at 9 pm GMT
- Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2925 from $1.2973
- Euro/pound: UP at 91.61 pence from 91.13 pence
- Dollar/yen: DOWN at 104.59 yen from 104.74 yen
- West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.3% at $41.11 per barrel
- Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.3% at $43.15 per barrel