Global stocks slide as investors weigh downbeat Fed minutes and surging coronavirus cases in Germany

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  • Global stocks fell on Thursday as investors weighed the Fed’s cautious stance on further stimulus, and Germany posted a record increase in new coronavirus infections. 
  • Investors had expected the latest Fed meeting to “open the door to the next phase in central-bank jigger-pokery,” Rabobank analysts said.
  • Federal Open Market Committee members confirmed that new stimulus measures were “not warranted in the current environment,” dashing investor hopes.
  • Germany added over 1,500 new cases of the coronavirus in 24 hours, the biggest single day increase since April.
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Global stocks fell on Thursday after the Federal Reserve dashed any hopes of further stimulus measures in a cautionary set of FOMC minutes released Wednesday. 

In Europe, markets were pushed further down after Germany posted over 1,500 new cases within 24 hours – its highest daily increase since the end of April. The current case count in Europe’s largest economy stands at 229,807.

Data from Europe’s leading economy carried an “extra sting” for investors who were keen to look beyond other bleak reports on the market, an analyst said. 

The Fed’s dispirited meeting minutes “sort of did a number” on markets, said Connor Campbell, a financial analyst at SpreadEx, as officials warned that the pandemic would weigh heavily on economic activity, employment, and inflation in the near term.

However, FOMC members stated that new stimulus measures are “not warranted in the current environment.”

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This scenario was largely unexpected as investors had hoped the Fed’s latest meeting would “open the door to the next phase in central-bank jigger-pokery” because of the roaring success of initial stimulus plans, Rabobank analysts said.

On Thursday, Australia’s Qantas airlines warned that it would scrap international travel to the US until the development of a vaccine, because it is the world’s worst-affected country with over 5.5 million cases and more than 172,000 deaths.

In further turmoil for European markets, Croatia may be added to the UK’s COVID-19 travel quarantine list, adding to worries for travel and cruise operators in the region. 

Last week, the UK included France, Netherlands, Malta, Monaco, Aruba, and the Turks and Caicos Islands to the list, implying that travellers arriving from these destinations would be required to self-isolate for 14 days. 

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Here’s the market roundup as of 11.35 a.m. in London (6.35 a.m. ET):

  • Asian indexes finished lower with China’s Shanghai Composite down 1.3%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng down 1.5%, and Japan’s Nikkei down 1%.
  • European equities fell, with Germany’s DAX down 0.8%, Britain’s FTSE 100 down 1.2%, and the Euro Stoxx 50 down 0.9%.
  • US stocks are set to open lower. Futures underlying the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and the US Tech 100 fell 0.3%.
  • Oil prices fell, with West Texas Intermediate down 1% at $42, and Brent crude down 1% at $44.
  • The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield fell to 0.65%.
  • Gold fell 1.9% to $1,932 per ounce.  

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