BOSTON (Reuters) - Stock markets, oil prices and the dollar slid on Thursday as new government data underscored the deep economic impact of the coronavirus and U.S. President Donald Trump raised the possibility of delaying the November election.
Trump, facing an immediate pushback from top Republicans, repeated his claims, without evidence, of mail-in voter fraud, writing in a post on Twitter, “delay the election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”
“It’s moved the market, for sure,” said Priya Misra, head of global rates strategy at TD Securities in New York. “Not only do we have uncertainty about who wins, I think we have uncertainty about the process.”
Trump’s statement compounded investor worry from earlier in the day on additional jobless claims and collapsed gross domestic product.
The MSCI world equity index .MIWD00000PUS fell 2.97 points or 0.53%, to 552.5.
The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC bucked the trend slightly, adding 44.87 points, or 0.43%, to hit 10,587.81, with technology stocks like Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Facebook Inc (FB.O) and Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) reporting strong quarterly earnings after the close of trading.
In Europe, dismal earnings reports and weaker-than-expected German gross domestic product data worsened an already sour mood, with the STOXX 600 closing down 2.2%. Germany's DAX index .GDAXI slid 3.5%, with all 30 components declining.
Earlier gains in Asian shares were undone, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS closing 0.17% lower, while Japan's Nikkei .N225 lost 0.26%.
U.S. GDP collapsed at a 32.9% annualized rate last quarter, slightly less than expected, but still the deepest decline in output since the government started keeping records in 1947, the Commerce Department said on Thursday.
“The fact that it was better than expected maybe is a good thing, but certainly not much better, and it’s still a terrible number,” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives with the Schwab Center for Financial Research.
The worries came despite news on Wednesday that all U.S. Federal Reserve members voted as expected to leave the target range for short-term interest rates between 0% and 0.25%, where it has been since March, and use its “full range of tools” if needed.
Investors must now watch negotiations in Washington over a new coronavirus relief package for the world’s largest economy.
Trump said on Wednesday his administration and Democrats in Congress were still “far apart” on a new coronavirus relief bill. Failure to agree risks letting a $600-per-week unemployment benefit lapse when it expires this week.
In currencies, the dollar index =USD, which tracks the greenback versus a basket of six currencies, fell 0.478 points or 0.51%, to 92.975, and remains on course for its worst monthly performance in a decade.
The dollar has fallen on expectations the Fed will maintain its ultra-loose monetary policy for years, which risks adding inflationary pressure.
The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note US10YT=RR fell 13/32 in price to yield 0.5397%.
Oil fell on concerns that surging coronavirus infections worldwide would jeopardize a recovery in fuel demand. [O/R]. Brent LCOc1, the international benchmark, settled down 81 cents at $42.94 a barrel. U.S. crude futures CLc1 fell $1.35 to settle at $39.92 a barrel.
Spot gold prices XAU= fell $17.8829, or 0.91%, to $1,952.49 an ounce. U.S. gold futures GCcv1 fell 0.6% to settle at $1,942.30 an ounce.
Reporting by Lawrence Delevingne in Boston, with additional reporting from Tom Arnold in London, Swati Pandey in Sydney, Ross Kerber in Boston and Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Chang and Lisa Shumaker