Global stocks rally as bargain-hunting sets in, but politics and the pandemic loom large

FILE PHOTO: Visitors look at a stock quotation board at Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo Japan, October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Visitors look at a stock quotation board at Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo

  • Banks and travel stocks boost European indices on Monday, but concern over the economy is driving the Stoxx 50 to its worst third-quarter performance in nine years.
  • Rising cases of Covid-19 across Europe, plus the first of the presidential debates this week are likely to outweigh economic data, analysts say.
  • Dollar eases from two-month highs, but looks set for more gains, while gold and silver remain under pressure.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Global equity markets bounced on Monday, as investors snapped up shares following last week’s broad declines, while the dollar eased back from its recent highs, but with politics and coronavirus coming to the fore this week, analysts said this trend had the potential to rapidly unravel.

In Europe, banks and airlines were among the top gainers, with HSBC leading the charge with an 8% gain on the day, after its largest shareholder, Chinese financial group Ping An Asset Management said it had expanded its stake in the group, according to the FT

With cases of Covid-19 registering new big increases in Spain, the United Kingdom, France and Belgium, the backdrop for the stock market is far from rosy. The Stoxx 50 index  is on course for a fall of 1.1% in the three months between July and September, putting it on course for its worst third-quarter performance since 2011, at the depths of the eurozone debt crisis.

“The primary concern in Europe remains the rising infection rates in many countries, and associated targeted lockdown measures that threaten to stall already stuttering and patchy recoveries,” Marc Ostwald, ADM Investor Services chief global economist, said.

Frankfurt’s DAX was up 2.4%, while London’s FTSE 100 rose 1.2%, echoing strength across Asian markets, where the Nikkei closed up 1.3% and Seoul’s KOSPI rose 1.1%.

Read More:  UBS: Buy these 23 stocks across major themes that are poised to outperform amid uncertainty and conflicting signals in the market

Aside from the rising Covid-19 caseload, investors will be monitoring this week’s final Brexit talks between the United Kingdom and the European Union, as well as the first presidential debate between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden. 

TD Securities emerging market strategist Mitul Kotecha told CNBC on Monday the debate would likely overshadow even the key monthly US employment report on Friday. 

“Politics will move increasingly into the spotlight for investors, with the coming week featuring the first presidential debate in the US tomorrow,” Deutsche Bank strategist Jim Reid said. 

“Staying with politics we’ll see the resumption of Brexit negotiations between the UK and the EU. In data terms the US jobs report on Friday and global manufacturing PMIs on Thursday will be the keys,” Reid said.

US futures pointed to stocks on Wall Street getting off to a positive start later in the day. S&P 500 futures were up 0.3%, while Nasdaq 100 futures rose 1.25%, suggesting an extension of last week’s 2.2% gain in the broader index.

With stocks enjoying a bounce, the dollar index eased back from two-month highs, predominantly driven by gains in the Japanese yen, which rose 0.25% on the day.

Concern over a pickup in Covid-19 infection rates and the impact on the economy, coupled with nervousness over the upcoming US election and waning expectations for any immediate new US fiscal stimulus have conspired to drive the dollar index up by more than 2% this month, putting it on course for its biggest monthly gain in 14 months.

“With little prospect of US fiscal stimulus coming through any time soon (the Democrats and Republicans remain far apart in their views on additional support) and concerns growing of broadening lockdowns in Europe, it is hard to see the dollar quickly resuming its decline just yet,” ING strategist Christ turner said. “DXY closes over 94.75 should worry dollar bears.”

Gold fell by 0.6% to $1,855 an ounce, while silver fell 1.2% to $22.83 an ounce. Ordinarily, weakness in the dollar tends to lead to strength in precious metals, but with little to no expectation for the US currency’s decline in Monday to accelerate, gold and silver were caught on the backfoot. 

“The stronger dollar is just crippling demand for gold these days as the market prefers the comfort of tech stocks when Covid rises,” AxiTrader chief market analyst Stephen Innes said. 

Read More: ‘Expect more stock-market weakness’: A Wall Street strategist lays out how investors’ most-trusted defenses against crashes are failing them at a critical time