Stocks rebound, oil slips as Chinese concerns linger

·3-min read
The spread of the Delta coronavirus variant has traders worried about its impact on the global recovery

Major stock markets turned in mixed, but mainly positive results in late trading on Tuesday as investors pondered data on economic activity in China and the US.

Softer indices in afternoon trade found support for the most part as the day drew to an end in Europe.

Oil prices slipped further meanwhile, adding to Monday's sharp losses as the reimposition of lockdowns and other restrictions in several countries including China raised demand concerns.

In midday New York exchanges, the Dow Jones index was up by 0.5 percent, while the dollar dipped against the pound and yen ahead of key US jobs data later in the week.

London's benchmark FTSE 100 index ended 0.3 percent higher, as strong BP results showed that the market heavyweight had swung back into profit.

"We're going through a very interesting period in the markets, one in which sentiment seems to change from one day to the next," said Craig Erlam, an analyst at OANDA.

While corporate earnings continue to impress, trader optimism has been hit by below-forecast purchasing manager indices (PMIs) from the world's biggest economies.

And a surge in Covid cases across economic powerhouse China has added to worries on trading floors.

"The rise in US cases, and (Southeast Asia's) situation, is well known, but what is spooking markets is China," said Jeffrey Halley, another OANDA analyst.

"It's not a huge reach to extrapolate even more supply chain disruptions, especially if it proves as elusive to control for Chinese authorities as it has to officials globally."

Hong Kong and Shanghai also continue to be buffeted by uncertainty caused by China's crackdown on the tech, private education and property sectors, which has raised worries that officials will target other industries.

Gaming firms appeared to be next in the crosshairs after a state-run media commentary described online games as "spiritual opium".

"Fears over Chinese regulatory interference aren't going away, with Tencent the latest stock to slump on chatter about Beijing seeking to wield its power," said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

Meanwhile, long-running fears that inflation could spike for months to come is fanning talk that central banks will have to taper their huge stimulus programmes that have driven rallies for equities.

- Key figures around 1615 GMT -

New York - Dow: UP 0.5 percent at 34,999.44 points

EURO STOXX 50: FLAT at 4,117.95

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.3 percent at 7,105.72 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.1 percent at 15,555.08 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.7 percent at 6,723.81 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.5 percent at 27,641.83 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 0.2 percent at 26,194.82 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.5 percent at 3,447.99 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1868 from $1.1874 at 2050 GMT

Euro/pound: DOWN at 85.31 pence from 85.49 pence

Pound/dollar: UP at 1.3912 from 1.3885

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 109.08 yen from 109.34 yen

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.3 percent at $72.67 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.7 percent at $70.80 per barrel

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