Global shares retreated from recent highs on Wednesday, as Asian markets grew jittery about a resurgence of COVID-19 cases and Western markets awaited Friday’s U.S. jobs report and what it might mean for monetary policy.
Asset markets have been buoyed over the past year by trillions of dollars in monetary and fiscal stimulus from global central banks responding to the pandemic.
Successful vaccination rollouts have fueled economic recoveries in some places, with consumer confidence in June surging in Europe and the United States.
But fears over a sudden rise in inflation and the highly contagious Delta variant combined with investors taking gains as the first half of the year ended on Wednesday.
The dollar was headed for its biggest monthly rise since November 2016, as investors turned to the safe-haven currency betting that a good Friday jobs report will strengthen the U.S. Federal Reserve’s hawkish tilt.
“We believe markets are reassessing the U.S. outlook as key data this week are expected to show a strong economy as we move into (the second half),” wrote analysts at Brown Brothers Harriman.
“This stands in contrast to many other parts of the world, where lagging vaccine rollouts are allowing the Delta variant to quickly spread, forcing some to go back into lockdown.”
MSCI’s all-country world index, which tracks shares across 50 countries, fell 0.23%. It was still set for a fifth straight month of gains, and for a rise of more than 11% in the first half.
The S&P 500 nabbed its fifth straight record close. The Dow Jones rose 210.22 points, or 0.61%, the S&P 500 gained 5.7 points, or 0.13%, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 24.38 points, or 0.17%.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.77%. The German DAX fell 159.55, or 1.02%, and London’s FTSE 100 fell 50.08, or 0.71%.
The FTSE MIB climbed up by 1.02% to 25,358.71. In the cash markets, the DAX futures Germany was trading up 1.04% to 15,695.17. CAC 40 futures in France rose by 0.96% to 6,570.60 while the FTSE 100 futures in the U.K. was up by 1.15% to 7,118.97. ,at the time of writing.