Stocks dip, oil rebounds: ‘The mood is fairly fragile’


Global equities dipped and the dollar hovered near four-month highs on Wednesday as concerns about extended economic lockdowns in Europe and the potential for higher taxes in the United States weighed on investor sentiment.

European shares closed near two-week lows, while oil prices surged after steep losses on Tuesday after one of the world’s largest container ships ran aground in the Suez Canal. Authorities were still trying to clear the ship from the vital shipping lane on Wednesday afternoon. [nL1N2LM051]

“The mood is fairly fragile as all the optimism that characterised the push higher over the past two or three weeks in shares is starting to bleed away on talk of a European third wave and extensions of pandemic lockdowns in Germany and France,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.43% following steep declines in Asia and modest losses in Europe.

In afternoon trading on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 178.07 points, or 0.55%, to 32,601.22, the S&P 500 gained 5.67 points, or 0.14%, to 3,916.19 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 138.92 points, or 1.05%, to 13,088.77.

The Ifo Institute said Germany’s extended lockdown is delaying a recovery. It cut its 2021 growth forecast for Europe’s biggest economy to 3.7% from 4.2% previously.

Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 6/32 in price to yield 1.6172%, from 1.638% late on Tuesday.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Tuesday the American economy remains in crisis from the pandemic as she defended developing plans for future tax increases to pay for new public investments.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told U.S. lawmakers that a coming round of post-pandemic price increases will not fuel a destructive breakout of persistent inflation.

The dollar index rose 0.113%, with the euro down 0.23% to $1.1822.

“We are definitely in that mode of a potential further reduction in risk, which would be supportive for the dollar,” said Derek Halpenny, head of research for global markets at MUFG.

Bitcoin rose 2.5% as Tesla Incchief Elon Musk said the company’s electric vehicles can now bebought using bitcoin.

U.S. crude rose 5.44% to $60.90 per barrel and Brent was at $64.50, up 6.1% on the day.

Spot gold added 0.4% to $1,733.76 an ounce.