LONDON (Reuters) – World stocks reversed earlier losses and the dollar slid on Monday as investors shrugged off worries that rising coronavirus infections in parts of Europe and the United States over the weekend could scupper a quick economic rebound.
Torn between record stimulus and growing fears of a second wave of infections, stocks .MIWD00000PUS have been moving sideways in recent weeks after rising more than 40% from March lows on hopes the worst of the pandemic was over.
European shares opened lower but nudged into positive territory as a jump in Germany’s coronavirus reproduction rate over the weekend was seen as unlikely to trigger a massive second wave or new lockdowns.
“Markets have climbed back … with stocks proving the doubter wrong yet again as a world of stimulus trumps the reality of economic and health struggles,” said Joshua Mahony, senior market analyst at IG.
Germany’s coronavirus reproduction rate jumped to 2.88 on Sunday from 1.06 on Friday, health authorities said. The spike in infections was mainly related to local outbreaks including in North Rhine-Westphalia.
“I regard the German R statistic as a bit of a red herring or more of a statistical quirk,” said Chris Bailey, Raymond James European strategist.
“Coronavirus at-the-margin remains an overhang but the opening up of Europe still looks on much more solid foundations than the US/Americas.”
The pandemic is accelerating globally with the World Health Organization reporting a record increase in global coronavirus cases on Sunday.
In further evidence that United States was far from returning to normal, Apple (AAPL.O) said on Friday that it would temporarily shut 11 U.S. stores as coronavirus cases rose in some states.
The U.S. dollar meanwhile slipped from two-and-a-half-week highs and stock futures ESc1 were up more than 1% as risk appetite remained alive in a world awash with cheap money.
GRAPHIC: COVID-19 in the United States – here
However, credit rating agency Moody’s warned that the stimulus measures will leave advanced economies with much higher debt than they accumulated during the last financial crisis.
“Government debt/GDP ratios will rise by around 19 percentage points, nearly twice as much as in 2009 during the GFC … the rise in debt burdens will be more immediate and pervasive, reflecting the acuteness and breadth of the shock posed by the coronavirus.” Moody’s said.
Investors are also wary of developments in Hong Kong after details of a new security law for the territory showed Beijing will have overarching powers on its enforcement.
China’s top legislative body, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, will meet on June 28, and the Global Times reported it was likely to enact the Hong Kong security law by July 1.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng .HSI fell 0.5%, underperforming regional markets.
Japan’s Nikkei .N225 fell 0.2% and MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS was almost flat.
The Aussie AUD=D3 was among the biggest risers, benefiting from comments by the head of the country’s central bank that the currency’s recent rise was not a problem and that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic would not be as bad as first feared.
Oil prices steadied on tighter supplies from major producers, but concerns that the rising coronavirus cases could curb demand checked gains.
Brent crude LCOc1 rose 0.2% to $42.25 a barrel. U.S. crude CLc1 fell slightly to $39.65 a barrel.
Reporting by Thyagaraju Adinarayan, additional reporting by Hideyuki Sano; editing by Larry King, Kirsten Donovan
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