Crude oil falls on lockdown angsts

Reuters NEW YORK | Updated on October 30, 2020 Published on October 30, 2020

Crude oil fell again on Thursday as lockdowns in Europe and rising cases elsewhere clouded the demand outlook, while stocks rose as Wall Street rallied.

Concerns hit commodities too, with oil again falling and down nearly 10% for the week.

“As lockdowns begin to bite on demand concerns across Europe, the near-term outlook for crude starts to deteriorate,” said Stephen Innes, chief global market strategist at Axi.

US crude recently fell 3.02% to $36.26 per barrel and Brent was at $37.68, down 3.68% on the day.

Uncertainty about Tuesday's U.S. election also kept traders on edge. President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden will rally supporters in the battleground of Florida, visiting the same city hours apart to offer their contrasting approaches to the resurgent coronavirus pandemic.

Emerging market stocks rose 0.02%. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed 0.19% lower. Japan's Nikkei futures were up 1.37%.

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel ordered their countries back into coronavirus lockdowns, while cases are rising in 47 US states with patients overwhelming hospitals in parts of the country.

The European Central Bank said it would increase its support for the bloc's economy amid the pandemic, weighing on the euro even as policy was left unchanged, while U.S. gross domestic product soared to a widely-predicted record bounce that helped trigger stock buying on Wall Street, enough to halt the rout on equities globally so far this week.

The S&P 500 rose partly on bets for strong earnings from mega-caps but was still down nearly 4% for the week so far, as traders have shied away from risk on concern a new wave of COVID-19 infections will hinder the economic recovery.

“It's a big day in technology today in anticipation of their results,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York.

“The earnings season so far has resulted in significant positive earnings surprises. We think that's helping to fuel today's rally in anticipation of positive surprises from these companies.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 259.92 points, or 0.98%, to 26,779.87, the S&P 500 gained 57.76 points, or 1.77%, to 3,328.79 and the Nasdaq Composite added 248.20 points, or 2.26%, to 11,253.07.

Global stock markets lost nearly $2 trillion on Wednesday, with trading volume on U.S. exchanges up 35% to the highest level in over five weeks.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.12% and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.82%.

Japan's Nikkei fell 0.4% and futures were pointing higher, while Chinese blue chips rose 0.7%.

“Asia is not really partaking in this second or third wave story because it's got its COVID largely under control,” said Rob Carnell, chief economist in Asia at ING.

Taiwan, which boasts Asia's best-performing currency this year, marked its 200th straight day without a local coronavirus transmission on Thursday.

The ECB held off on new measures on Thursday but it hinted at action in December, which is likely to keep the euro under pressure.

The dollar index rose 0.555%, with the euro down 0.62% to $1.1671.

The Japanese yen weakened 0.37% versus the greenback at 104.67 per dollar, while Sterling was last trading at $1.2925, down 0.43% on the day.

The Bank of Japan had made no changes to monetary policy settings overnight, as expected, though it trimmed its growth forecasts to reflect sluggish services spending.

Treasury yields rose, tracking U.S. stocks, despite little initial reaction to the strong GDP number.

Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 17/32 in price to yield 0.8381%, from 0.781% late on Wednesday.

Spot gold dropped 0.5% to $1,868.33 an ounce. Silver fell 0.40% to $23.32.

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Published on October 30, 2020
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