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GLOBAL MARKETS-Europe breathes easier after second wave wipeouts

Tue, 22nd Sep 2020 10:02

* Europe steadies after worst day in 3 months

* Asian shares weaker for second consecutive day

* Futures trading point to flat US opening

* Fresh lockdown worries, stimulus delay spook investors

* Graphic: 2020 asset performance http://tmsnrt.rs/2yaDPgn

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2020 http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh

By Marc Jones

LONDON, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Europe's stock markets clawed
back some ground on Tuesday, a day after rising second waves of
the coronavirus epidemic caused the region's biggest wipeout
since June and drover investors back to government bonds.

Conditions were still choppy. South Korea and China's
bourses had pulled Asia down for a second day after the
tech-heavy Nasdaq fell out of its recent stellar range, so it
was a relief for traders to see Europe stabilise.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index made back 0.5% of
the 3.2% it lost on Monday, helped by respective 1.5% and 0.6%
gains for the tech and healthcare sectors.

Travel and leisure stocks saw 0.3% falls to add to Monday's
5.2% plunge, however, and as investors stayed close to safety,
yields on Germany's government bonds held near six-week lows and
the dollar rose.

"The market may be taking a breather but I would be
surprised if that was it," said Rabobank's Head of Macro
Strategy Elwin de Groot, referring to Monday's rout that came as
countries had been forced to reintroduce some of the COVID-19
restrictions they removed over the summer.

"The market won't like it. The base case was that the second
wave wouldn't be as bad as the first... but the fourth quarter
will be now another quarter with stringent restrictions and
there are going to be an increasing number of economic victims,"
he said.

Concerns surfaced in the currency market, with both the euro
and Britain's pound down around 0.3% against the
dollar.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will encourage Britons on
Tuesday to go back to working from home, along with new curbs on
pubs, bars and restaurants.

This came as France saw its seven-day daily rolling case
count rise above 10,000 for the first time over the weekend,
Italy introduced more mandatory testing and Germany describe the
situation as "worrying".

Beyond the impact of the virus, Hong Kong shares of HSBC
and Standard Chartered weakened a further
2%, after leaked reports showed they were among global lenders
that have transferred more than $2 trillion in suspect funds
over nearly two decades.

"Markets globally have run hard on the weight of huge
liquidity, so it's not surprising to see a pullback in some
valuations," said James Rosenberg, an EL&C Baillieu advisor in
Sydney.

"Add in uncertainty with U.S. elections and another COVID
wave in Europe ... it unsettles investors."

BACK TO THE FUTURES

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 had dropped 0.7%, pressured
by miners and energy stocks and the Aussie dollar fell to
a one-month low while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index had
closed down nearly 1%.

Japanese markets were closed for a public holiday but early
trading indicated a subdued day in store for Wall Street, with
S&P 500 futures down 0.18% and Nasdaq 100 futures
flat%.

U.S. stocks have tumbled over the past three weeks as
investors dumped heavyweight technology-related shares following
a stunning rally that lifted the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq to new
highs.

JPMorgan and Bank of New York Mellon had
fallen 3.1% and 4.0% respectively on Monday too.

Concerns are also growing about a delay in U.S. stimulus
measures after Congress has remained deadlocked for weeks over
the size and shape of another coronavirus-response bill, on top
of the roughly $3 trillion already enacted into law.

The death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
appeared to make the passage of another package less likely
before the Nov. 3 presidential election, sparking large declines
in the healthcare sector.

Gold fell against the rising dollar, and traded at $1,908.76
per ounce, while in oil markets, Brent gained 0.4% to
$41.65 and U.S. crude rose 0.5% to $39.5 per barrel.

(Reporting by Marc Jones; editing by John Stonestreet)

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