Virus concerns keep oil in check; stocks drift

NEW YORK (Reuters) -A global stock index edged up on Wednesday as Wall Street and Europe bounced back from large drops, while oil prices continued to be weighed by rising COVID-19 cases in Asia.

Recent optimism about rising vaccination rates in the United States and Britain is shifting to concern that record coronavirus infections in India, likely restrictions in Japan and rising cases in Latin America will act be a hurdle for the global economic recovery.

Investors are also closely watching an auction of 20-year U.S. Treasuries later on Wednesday, which will be an important gauge of global demand for fixed income. Ahead of the auction results, the yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes traded at 1.5749%.

The 30-year bond last fell 8/32 in price to yield 2.2718%, from 2.26% late on Tuesday.

The move in the Treasury market “is going to be sideways until we get some data or any sort of catalyst for a move higher. I think the next catalyst is really going to come from overseas when you start to see a pick-up in vaccination rates in Europe,” said Subadra Rajappa, head of U.S. rates strategy at Societe Generale.

On Wall Street, a 7% drop in Netflix weighed on the Nasdaq but indexes were bouncing back from their largest declines in a month.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 167.87 points, or 0.5%, to 33,989.17, the S&P 500 gained 21.56 points, or 0.52%, to 4,156.5 and the Nasdaq Composite added 81.60 points, or 0.59%, to 13,867.86.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.72% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.17%.

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Emerging market stocks lost 0.99%. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed 1.04% lower, while Japan’s Nikkei lost 2.03%.

Oil prices were weighed by concerns that surging COVID-19 cases in India will drive down fuel demand in the world’s third-biggest oil importer.

“Demand jitters were thrust back into the spotlight yesterday amid a sharp rise in global coronavirus cases. Nowhere is this more obvious than in India,” PVM analysts said.

U.S. crude recently fell 1.1% to $61.99 per barrel and Brent was at $65.97, down 0.9% on the day.

The dollar index fell 0.122%, with the euro down 0.01% to $1.2032.

The Japanese yen strengthened 0.02% versus the greenback at 108.07 per dollar, while Sterling was last trading at $1.3936, flat on the day.

Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; additional reporting by Kate Duguid, David Henry in New York, Shadia Nasralla in London and Shreyashi Sanyal and Devik Jain in BengaluruEditing by Marguerita Choy

Source: Reuters

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