February 24, 2024


Delighting finance buffs

Global stocks turn negative as virus death toll mounts

World stocks turned negative on Wednesday as the coronavirus death toll mounted and euro zone finance ministers failed to agree a rescue package to help economies recover from the impact of the outbreak.

Covid-19 hospitalisations seemed to be levelling off in New York state, but deaths across the United States jumped by a record of more than 1,800.

Meanwhile, France has officially registered more than 10,000 deaths from coronavirus infections, making it the fourth country to cross that threshold after Italy, Spain and the United States.

Wuhan, the Chinese city where the coronavirus emerged, ended its more-than two-month lockdown on Wednesday, but new imported cases in the far northern province of Heilongjiang surged to a daily high of 25.

After two sessions of gains, European equities fell amid renewed concern about the spread of the virus and the continent’s response to it.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index dipped 1.3 per cent. London’s FTSE 100 fell 1.7 per cent, as the country’s coronavirus death toll crossed 6,100. Germany’s DAX shed 1.1 per cent after rallying more than 8 per cent in the past two days, as the number of confirmed cases rose for a second straight day.

Japanese shares were boosted by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ending market uncertainty by declaring an emergency, helping the Nikkei share average close 2.13 per cent higher.

E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 were trading flat.

“After the market rallying, we are having some consolidation as we are in a bottoming process, and you cannot have a V-shaped recovery,” said Francois Savary, chief investment officer at Swiss wealth manager Prime Partners. “Trading is between 2200 to 2800 on the S&P 500 at the moment and we will stick to that for the time being as we are in recovery phase.

Euro zone finance ministers failed to agree in all-night talks on more support for their coronavirus-hit economies. Eurogroup chairman Mario Centeno said on Wednesday morning he was suspending the discussions until Thursday.

Italian government bond yields rose in response. Italy’s 10-year bond yield rose as much as 20 basis points in early trade, hitting its highest since March 19 at 1.748 per cent, before slipping back to a 14 bps gain.

The gap between benchmark 10-year German and Italian bond yields, a gauge of the risks investors attach to lending to Italy, rose to more than 200 basis points, at one point hitting its widest since March 20.

Oil prices stabilised ahead of a meeting on Thursday between OPEC members and allied producers that traders hope could lead to output cuts to shore up prices. Brent crude added 0.3 per cent to $31.96 per barrel after falling 3.6 per cent on Tuesday. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 3.8 per cent to $24.45 a barrel.

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