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Stocks Start to Slide as Virus Fears Weigh

Market Drivers November 19, 2020

  • Equities drift lower
  • Euro steady but EU battle rages
  • Nikkei -0.37% Dax -1.04%
  • UST 10Y 0.85
  • Oil $41.19
  • Gold $1858/oz.
  • BTCUSD $17391/oz.

Asia and the EU

  • No Data

North America Open

  • USD Weekly jobless 8:30
  • USD Philly Fed 8:30
  • CAD ADP Employment 8:30

Equity markets were lower in Asian and early European trade as COVID fears once again weighed on investor sentiment.

With coronavirus infections showing no signs of slowing many medical systems in the US and Europe are coming under unsustainable stress forcing governments in those regions to consider further lockdown measures. Even without formal lockdown measures mobility data suggests that consumers are retreating again and anecdotal data indicates that hoarding of staples in the US is once again becoming a problem on the supply chain.

All of this suggests that the economic rebound from spring lows may be in danger of slowing as economic activity is clearly becoming curtailed.

For now, equities have been supported by easy monetary policy and the prospect of additional fiscal stimulus, but with the atmosphere in Washington DC poisoned by Trump’s refusal to acknowledge that he lost the Presidency the chance of any significant spending package has been reduced significantly. The move is further complicated by the focus on the Senate runoff election in Georgia where the outcome can shift the power structure in Congress.

Today’s US weekly jobless data could provide clues as to whether the economic slowdown is taking place with markets looking for little change from last week’s 709K number. However, if claims rise the news could provide the catalyst for further selloff as the day proceeds.

Meanwhile, in Europe, the wrangling continues over the stimulus package as Poland and Hungary vetoed the EU budget over the clause on the rule of law. Some European diplomats believe that both Warsaw and Budapest are bluffing as both economies badly need the stimulus funds but in Eastern Europe, the political sentiments often trump economic considerations and there is a very real chance that they could scuttle the deal in which case the rest of the EU would need to consider rewriting the languages or cutting Hungary or Poland out of the package altogether which only intensify the strains on the union.

For now, the EURUSD remains firm around 1.1800 as markets continue to view the latest drama as just a distraction, and given the critical need for stimulus it’s doubtful Hungary and Warsaw could kill the deal, but any further delay could start to put further selling pressure on the pair and it could drift below 1.1800 if tensions persist.

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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Boris Schlossberg

Mr. Schlossberg is a regular contributor to CNBC's Squawk Box and a commentator for CNBC Asia and CNBC Europe. His daily currency research is widely quoted by Reuters, Dow Jones and Agence France Presse newswires and appears in numerous newspapers worldwide. Mr. Schlossberg has written for SFO magazine, Active Trader and Technical Analysis of Stocks and Commodities. He is the author of Technical Analysis of the Currency Market and Millionaire Traders: How Everyday People Beat Wall Street at its Own Game, both of which are published by Wiley

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