U.S. hospitals are recording the highest death rates since February
Wall Street indexes closed mixed overnight after another choppy session. On Wednesday, U.S. stocks suffered their worst single session in a month. Investors have become more cautious amid concerns about the delta variant which could dent the global economic recovery. On the positive side, market players remain upbeat about improving corporate earnings.
On the data front, first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week to 348,000, a pandemic low, while the Conference Board’s leading economic index rose 0.9% in July. As such, the S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 0.13% and 0.11% respectively, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed nearly 0.20%.
Asian markets were lower on Friday amid the persistent concerns about the Fed-related concerns and the spread of COVID-19’s Delta strain. Of note, U.S. hospitals are recording the highest death rates since February 2021. China’s Shanghai Composite fell 1% after the People’s Bank of China released its latest one-year loan prime rate (LPR), which remained unchanged at 3.85%. Japan’s Nikkei 225 was down nearly 1% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slid 1.84%.
In Europe, stocks edged lower following a flat open ahead of the weekend, with the pan-European STOXX 600 index down nearly 0.5% in recent trading following a 1.5%-slump in the previous session amid signals from the Federal Reserve that it could reduce stimulus as early as this year. Germany’s DAX slipped 0.60% even as data showed producer prices rose more than expected in July.
As risk aversion persists globally, the safe-haven demand continues to push the US dollar higher across the board. As such, EURUSD is hovering around early-November lows seen at 1.1665 and could suffer deeper losses in the short term as recovery attempts keep failing. If the mentioned lows give up, the pair could target the 1.1600 figure next.