Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned the US economy risks suffering "permanent damage" the longer the lockdown to contain the COVID-19 pandemic drags on

New York (AFP) - European and US stocks retreated Tuesday, partly reversing the previous session’s rally, as traders banked profits and digested grim indicators about the depth of the economic slowdown.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned the US economy risks suffering “permanent damage” the longer the lockdown to contain the COVID-19 pandemic drags on.

The White House has urged states to reopen their economies as quickly as is safely possible and has not embraced the need to approve additional fiscal support right now – a stance taken by congressional Democrats.

It is not unusual to see a pullback in stocks after a big rally, but a high-profile Capitol Hill hearing highlighted lingering concerns on how to safely revive the economy, analysts said.

And FHN Financial’s Chris Low said the partisan divide suggested there will not be a fast agreement to provide more funds to cash-strapped states, “an essential part of laying groundwork for a quick recovery,” he said.

“You’re not going to get that aid if the two parties can’t work together,” Low said.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 1.6 percent at 24,206.86, pulling back from the 3.9 percent surge Monday.

- British unemployment spikes -

London stocks lost 0.8 percent after official data showed a record surge in UK jobless claims during April, as businesses ravaged by fallout from the deadly COVID-19 outbreak laid off workers.

The number of Britons claiming jobless benefit soared nearly 70 percent in April to 2.1 million, as the coronavirus devastated the labor market, according to a government report.

In the eurozone, Paris shed 0.9 percent on news European auto sales collapsed by a record 76.3 percent year-on-year in April, while Frankfurt squeaked into positive territory just before the closing bell.

Shares across Europe had received a shot in the arm Monday from news of a 500-billion-euro ($542-billion) French-German fund to help the European Union economy combat COVID-19 fallout.

New York stocks then soared after US biotech firm Moderna reported “positive interim” results in early testing of a vaccine candidate, with some analysts suggesting that if all goes well it could be in use by the end of the year.

But an article Tuesday in Stat News, which focuses on health and medicine, expressed skepticism over Moderna’s announcement, which was a major catalyst in Monday’s rally, saying the company “revealed very little information” and no data about the vaccine.

Shares of Moderna tumbled 10.4 percent after surged 20 percent following the Monday announcement.

Retail giant Walmart finished 2.1 percent lower after giving up early gains. The company reported higher profits on a surge in demand for groceries and other essential items, but said it suffered $900 million in COVID-19 related expenses in the first quarter.

- Key figures around 2110 GMT -

New York - Dow: DOWN 1.6 percent at 24,206.86 (close)

New York - S&P 500: DOWN 1.1 percent at 2,922.94 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: DOWN 0.5 percent at 9,185.10 (close)

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.8 percent at 6,002.23 points (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.2 percent at 11,075.29 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.9 percent at 4,458.16 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.3 percent at 2,902.58 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 1.5 percent at 20,433.45 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 1.9 percent at 24,388.13 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.8 percent at 2,898.58 (close)

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.5 percent at $34.65 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: UP 2.1 percent at $32.50 per barrel

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0927 from $1.0913 at 2100 GMT

Dollar/yen: UP at 107.66 yen from 107.34

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2242 from $1.2194

Euro/pound: DOWN at 89.15 pence from 89.50 pence

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