Markets

European Shares Set To Fall As Virus Worries Mount

(RTTNews) - European stocks are likely to open lower on Thursday as the number of new coronavirus cases and fatalities continued to mount across the United States, with Texas and Oklahoma recording new highs.

According to Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. recorded 67,632 new cases in the previous 24 hours, a new national record.

U.S.-China tensions also remain on investors' radar after a senior U.S. official likened China's state enterprises to Britain's colonizing East India Company.

A day after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo branded most of Beijing's claims in the sea illegal, U.S. Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, David R Stilwell, told a Washington think-tank that oil major CNOOC and other firms were serving as "battering rams" to intimidate other nations.

In another development, a White House National Security Council spokesman said that President Donald Trump has not ruled out further sanctions on top Chinese officials for actions in Hong Kong or on other issues.

The clarification came after Bloomberg reported earlier that Trump had ruled out additional sanctions on top officials for now to avoid escalating tensions.

The European Central Bank meets to set monetary policy today, with the central bank unlikely to yield any policy change. ECB Chief Christine Lagarde will hold a virtual press conference afterward.

Across the Atlantic, trading may be impacted by reaction to a slew of U.S. economic data, including reports on initial jobless claims, retail sales and homebuilder confidence.

Earnings news will also continue to attract attention, with Bank of America, Johnson & Johnson and Morgan Stanley among the companies releasing their quarterly results before the opening bell.

Asian markets fell sharply even as official data showed China's GDP expanded 3.2 percent year on year in the second quarter of 2020 amid coronavirus headwinds.

Industrial output rose an annual 4.8 percent in June, expanding for the third straight month, while retail sales fell 1.8 percent year-on-year, separate reports showed.

Fixed asset investment fell 3.1 percent in the first half of the year from the same period last year.

The dollar extended declines and gold held steady, while oil prices fell after OPEC and allies such as Russia agreed to ease record supply curbs from August, renewing concerns over excess supply.

U.S. stocks fluctuated before ending mostly higher overnight as upbeat news on the coronavirus vaccine front, encouraging industrial production data and a blockbuster earnings report from Goldman Sachs helped traders shrug off news of a record single-day spike in new Covid-19 cases in the U.S.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 rose about 0.9 percent to close at their best closing levels in over a month, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index gained 0.6 percent.

European stocks ended Wednesday's session on a buoyant note, thanks to positive news on the coronavirus vaccine front and optimism about a massive stimulus announcement from the European Union.

The pan European Stoxx 600 advanced 1.8 percent. The German DAX and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 both climbed around 1.8 percent while France's CAC 40 index rallied 2 percent.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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