Investors fear a wave of new infections

London (AFP) - Wall Street stocks fell Friday as a rise in coronavirus cases raised the prospect of a slower US recovery, while European equities ended mixed.

“What seemed to be a fairly positive day for stocks has turned sour very quickly as Wall Street dives on the open and European markets follow suit to give up their gains for the day,” said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at online trading firm IG.

Only London stocks bucked the trend among top European bourses to close in positive territory.

The Dow was down more than two percent in late morning trading with the broader S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite also nursing losses well over one percent.

Investor confidence in a US economic recovery is “being stymied by lingering COVID-19 concerns as new cases persist”, said analysts at the Charles Schwab brokerage.

CMC Markets UK analyst David Madden pointed to the order by Texas to close bars.

“The development in Texas is worrying because re-imposing restrictions could become the norm,” he said.

“A big portion of the rally that equities enjoyed between late March and early June was down to the chatter that lockdown restrictions will be eased, and then they were eased, so now there are fears the process could be reversed.”

Adding to the caution were US personal spending data for May which showed a smaller than expected rebound from the previous month.

Meanwhile bank shares tumbled after the Federal Reserve barred banking share buybacks.

The worries were not limited to the United States, moreover.

The World Health Organization raised concerns of a new virus surge in Europe, where lockdown easing has seen flights between countries resume and bars, restaurants and cinemas reopen.

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.

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.

Tesco shares ended the day with a gain of more than two percent.

However, the sector remained under pressure after British shopping centre giant Intu, already hit hard before the coronavirus lockdown, warned 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 move talks with creditors forward before a midnight deadline.

- Key figures around 1530 GMT -

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.2 percent at 6,159.30 points (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.7 percent at 12,089.39 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.2 percent at 4,909.64 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.4 percent at 3,205.78

New York - Dow: DOWN 2.2 percent at 25,192.92

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 1.7 percent at $38.05 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 1.0 percent at $40.65

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1209 from $1.1218 at 2100 GMT

Dollar/yen: UP at 107.20 yen from 107.19 yen

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2325 from $1.2419

Euro/pound: UP at 90.96 pence from 90.33 pence

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