March 24, 2023
Stocks Dip on Stimulus Doubts and Surging Virus Cases

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On Monday, global stocks kicked off the week on the back foot as the global economic outlook was clouded by surging cases of coronavirus in the United States and Europe, while leaders in China are meeting to discuss the future of the economic giant. In the last two days, the United States saw its highest number of new coronavirus cases, whereas Spain announced a state of emergency and France also had a record number of cases. Plus, there was no clear progress regarding a new U.S. stimulus package and there was caution ahead of the presidential elections on November 3rd. All of these prompted the MSCI world equity index to fall by 0.2%. 

There was a 0.8% decline in Euro STOXX 600 in Europe, while there was a 0.9% dip in the S&P 500 futures. According to market analysts, the worsening numbers of the COVID-19 cases, increasing lockdown measures, and the decreasing likelihood of getting a U.S. stimulus package before the elections, possibly even before the year-end have taken a toll on the market outlook significantly. After Latin American, Europe becomes the second area to exceed 250,000 deaths due to COVID-19 on Saturday, as various European countries reported the highest number of single-day increases in cases.

There was a 1.2% fall in the Milan blue-chip index due to the new restrictions that were placed on public venues. This shadowed the positive news on Friday about ratings agency S&P Global, which upgraded the sovereign outlook of the nation from negative to stable. There was a 2.7% slump in the German DAX, which was a three-month low, and occurred after software firm SAP abandoned its profitability targets in the medium-term and warned that it would take their business longer than expected to recover from the global pandemic. South Korea’s main index shed 0.7%, Japan’s Nikkei lost 1% and MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares other than Japan finished 0.2% lower.

There was a 0.6% slump in Chinese blue chips, as the nation’s leaders came together to chart the economic course for the next 5 years and how to balance reforms and growth during an uncertain global climate and increasing tensions with the United States. The week will probably be packed with monetary policy decisions, but central banks in Japan and Canada are expected to hold their fire. In contrast, the market assumes that even if the European Central Bank skips further easing, they will be cautious about growth and inflation.

Data that’s due on Thursday is predicted to show a 31.9% rebound in the third quarter economic output in the U.S, after the historic collapse of the second quarter. According to analysts, the GDP for this year will still finish 4% lower than last year, as business investments are still lagging. The markets are already expecting a Democratic win in the November 3rd U.S. presidential elections, which could potentially lead to a weaker USD and steeper U.S yield curves, as Biden is expected to introduce a new stimulus package once he is elected.

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