Investors fear a wave of new infections
London (AFP) - European stock markets bounced back Friday from recent losses, but an increase in global coronavirus infections fanned worries about a feared second wave, dealers said.
Key European indices were posting healthy gains by the mid-afternoon.
“Governments and central banks continue to shield equities from the bad news on fresh spikes in coronavirus and evidence of the economic damage wrought by the pandemic,” said Russ Mould, investment director at brokerage AJ Bell.
But on Wall Street, the Dow index lost ground at the opening bell as investors conviction about a rebounding economy was “being stymied by lingering COVID-19 concerns as new cases persist”, said analysts at the Charles Schwab brokerage.
Adding to caution were US personal spending data for May which showed a smaller than expected rebound from the previous month, they said.
- Concerns of new surge -
With several US states – particularly Texas, Florida and California – reporting a rebound in virus cases, there is an increasing sense that leaders will have to stall their economic reopenings and in some cases reimpose containment measures.
The World Health Organization meanwhile raised concerns of a new surge in Europe, where lockdown easing has seen flights between countries resume and bars, restaurants and cinemas reopen.
However, China, where the disease was first detected late last year, said it had controlled an outbreak in Beijing that had briefly raised fears of a second wave and prompted new restrictions.
While investors continued to see the positives, backed up by trillions of dollars in government support, analysts suggested the three-month rally in world equities could be stuttering.
In Asia Hong Kong stocks fell after the US Senate approved a bill that would lay out sanctions on Chinese officials who undermine the city’s autonomy as Beijing pushes forward with a controversial national security law.
- UK retail in focus -
Back in Europe, fresh evidence emerged Friday of coronavirus winners and losers in Britain’s battered retail sector.
Supermarket king Tesco saw its share price rally after logging bumper sales, as people switched to online grocery deliveries during the nationwide lockdown.
“The pandemic remains the central theme and Tesco has certainly stepped up to the plate in response,” commented Richard Hunter, Head of Markets at online brokerage Interactive Investor.
However, the sector remained pressured after British shopping centre giant Intu, already hit hard before the coronavirus lockdown, warned Friday that it was on the brink of collapse after talks failed to restructure its finances.
The debt-laden firm, which owns 17 giant shopping malls including MetroCentre and the Trafford Centre in northern England and Lakeside in the southeast, was seeking to progress talks with creditors before a midnight deadline.
- Key figures around 1335 GMT -
London - FTSE 100: UP 1.3 percent at 6,225.88 points
Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.5 percent at 12,232.51
Paris - CAC 40: UP 1.1 percent at 4,971.20
EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.8 percent at 3,243.45
New York - Dow: DOWN 0.8 percent at 25,531.61
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 1.1 percent at 22,512.08 (close)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 0.9 percent at 24,549.99 (close)
Shanghai - Composite: Closed for public holiday
West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.5 percent at $38.52 per barrel
Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.2 percent at $42.06
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1228 from $1.1218 at 2100 GMT
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 107.02 yen from 107.19 yen
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2375 from $1.2419
Euro/pound: UP at 90.73 pence from 90.33 pence