Global stocks fell on Monday as France, Spain, and the UK reported thousands of new coronavirus cases over the weekend, raising fears of a second wave of the disease that could bring tighter lockdowns and restrictions on activity.
Equity benchmarks declined broadly, but European indices were the worst hit, following the largest outbreak in Europe in recent weeks with 3,899 new cases in the UK, over 10,000 in France, and more than 14,000 in Spain.
Elsewhere, US futures declined as the Dow 30, S&P 500, and Nasdaq 100 fell between 1% and 1.4%, suggesting that the slide that has taken place over the last three weeks could continue into this week.
Anxiously awaiting news of a successful COVID-19 vaccine, investors were further discouraged by AstraZeneca saying its US clinical trial for a COVID-19 vaccine was still on hold.
The British-Swedish pharmaceutical firm’s trial was suspended earlier this month after a volunteer was hospitalized and reportedly diagnosed with a condition that causes inflammation in the spinal cord.
Geopolitical tensions added to the pressure on risk assets, such as stocks, while perceived safe-havens such as government bonds gained. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury note was last down nearly 4 basis points on the day at 0.661 percent.
China’s Ministry of Commerce issued a statement accusing the US of bullying on Saturday. “If the US insists on going its own way, China will take necessary measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies,” the ministry said in a statement per The Guardian.
After the US first announced Friday that it would ban all new downloads of TikTok and WeChat on Friday, the order is now officially on hold for a week.