World stocks and oil prices lost momentum as a record amount of new coronavirus cases across several US states led to worries that more lockdowns may be necessary, slowing down the likelihood of a quick economic recovery.
More than 60,500 new coronavirus infections were reported in the US on Thursday, the largest single-day tally of cases by any country since the novel coronavirus emerged late last year.
The upcoming second-quarter earnings season, expected to be the worst for Europe and the US since the 2008/09 financial crisis, added to the woes, pushing investors to chase safe-haven assets, such as US Treasuries and the Japanese yen.
European stocks declined 0.3 per cent, taking cues from Asia where China ended its rally. Shares in China fell 1.8 per cent from a five-year high, as state media discouraged retail investors from chasing the market higher.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1.3 per cent. Australian stocks declined by 0.6 per cent as an extension of loan-payment deferrals hit the banking sector. Japanese stocks were down by 1.1 per cent.
Some Asian cities that had appeared to have contained the disease, such as Tokyo, Hong Kong and Melbourne, have also seen a spike in cases, prompting investors to take shelter in safe-haven assets.
In the currency market, the yen rose 0.4 per cent against the dollar and 0.5 per cent versus the euro. US Treasury yields dipped to their lowest levels since late April.
Gold fell 0.3 per cent after hitting an eight-year high the day before.
US crude oil fell 2 per cent to $38.81 a barrel and Brent Crude fell 1.7 per cent to $41.63 per barrel amid concerns about a long-term decline in global energy demand.