Stocks Fall Worldwide As Coronavirus Death-toll Climbs

Stocks around the world tumbled at the start of the week, with the US also pointing downwards in the futures markets, after another weekend saw a jump in coronavirus deaths.

Widespread concern about surging US COVID-19 cases had already sent markets reeling late last week, and the picture didn’t improve over the weekend. As of Sunday morning, the US has set consecutive new daily case records for five days straight. 

Globally the picture is also troubling, with 10 million infections and more than half a million deaths. 

The US is leading for both infections and deaths from the diseases, having confirmed 2.5 million cases and more than 125,000 deaths from the disease.

The early signs in markets today were for further losses, with shares in Asia tumbling. Japan’s Nikkei closed down 2.3%, leaving it more than 10% off its year-to-date high, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was off 1.4%.

The US is currently tipped to open down around 0.4%, with the losses coming after a Friday session that saw its banking stocks retreat as the Federal Reserve moved to implement restrictions on shareholder payouts. The Fed introduced limits on dividends and share buybacks for large banks after its annual stress tests of 33 banks found that while the industry is in good enough shape to make it through the crisis, in some scenarios several banks could come close to minimum capital levels. Banking stocks plunged on the news, with the banks sub-sector of the S&P 500 dropping 6.1%. Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB) and Goldman Sachs (GS) were among the biggest fallers, closing the day 8.3% and 8.7% lower respectively.

The financial sector was the biggest loser in a day where all 11 sectors in the S&P 500 fell by more than 1%. Overall, the index of America’s largest companies dropped by 2.4% on Friday, taking it to a 2.9% loss for the week. 

Energy stocks sink in US as risk of lockdowns threatens oil demand once again

After financial stocks, the energy sector was the hardest hit in Friday’s sell-off, losing 3.5% overall, as concerns about rising Covid-19 case numbers once again threaten demand for oil. If states roll back reopening plans and go back to strict lockdowns, demand for everything from petrol to jet fuel is likely to fall back again. 

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