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Markets

Stock markets mostly down as new virus cases temper reopening

  • China, Australia, Germany and Japan are also battling new outbreaks with some reintroducing containment measures.
Published June 22, 2020
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LONDON: Stock markets mostly dropped Monday and the dollar fell as investors kept a nervous eye on a spike in coronavirus infections around the world, while Europe pressed ahead with the easing of lockdown measures.

While a wall of cash from governments and central banks provides much-needed support, observers say an equities rally from their March trough may have been overcooked.

After last week's broadly positive showing for stocks, traders turned cautious on news of a worrying jump in fresh virus cases across US states including California, Texas and Florida.

China, Australia, Germany and Japan are also battling new outbreaks with some reintroducing containment measures.

It comes after the World Health Organization last week warned of a "new and dangerous phase" of the pandemic, with people tiring of lockdowns despite the disease's accelerating spread.

US investors were spooked Friday when Apple said it would shut some stores it had recently reopened because of new cases.

At the same time, though, European countries are slowly emerging from their economy-sapping lockdowns, with Spain opening its borders, welcoming flights, while schools, cinemas and theatres reopened in France.

"What is vital for the economy is whether governments reimpose wide-sweeping lockdowns. With the overall count low globally, that's unlikely, whereas proximity or soft lockdowns like in Beijing is more likely," said Stephen Innes at AxiCorp.

But he did say that the fresh infections are "providing a sombre reality check, not only thwarting bullish ambitions, but investors are re-focusing on the negative economic consequences that could linger for some time".

Elsewhere Monday, oil prices dipped after a healthy advance on Friday, as output cuts by major producers and hopes for rising demand are tempered by worries over new infections.

On the corporate front, the value of Wirecard continued to plunge, with its share price down to around 16 euros, compared with almost 100 last Wednesday before auditors' doubts about the German payment firm's missing cash became public.

In what could be one of the biggest financial frauds of recent years, Wirecard on Monday admitted 1.9 billion euros ($2.1 billion) that auditors say are missing from its accounts likely "do not exist".

The scandal has claimed the scalp of founder and chief executive Markus Braun. - Key figures around 1115 GMT - London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.3 percent at 6,271.18 points Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.5 percent at 12,267.91 Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.7 percent at 4,946.86 EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.8 percent at 3,243.10 Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.2 percent at 22,437.27 (close) Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 0.5 percent at 24,511.34 (close) Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.1 percent at 2,965.27 (close) New York - Dow: DOWN 0.8 percent at 25,871.46 (close) West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.6 percent at $39.50 per barrel Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.5 percent at $41.99 Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1209 from $1.1181 at 2040 GMT on Friday Dollar/yen: UP at 106.91 from 106.84 yen Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2383 from $1.2359 Euro/pound: UP at 90.53 pence from 90.46 pence

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