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GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks struggle after tech reboot, euro in ECB crosshairs

Thu, 10th Sep 2020 12:25

* European stocks stumbled after Nasdaq jumped 2.7%
overnight

* Currency markets await ECB

* ECB statement 1145 GMT and news conference at 1230 GMT

* Oil prices back under pressure amid demand fears

*

By Marc Jones

LONDON, Sept 10 (Reuters) - The tech-led reboot of stock
markets stalled in Europe on Thursday as traders pulled back to
hear just how twitchy the European Central Bank has become about
the euro's run-up in recent months.

The ECB's upcoming meeting, along with emergency Brexit
talks in London after negotiations turned chaotic again, and
wilting commodity markets kept the bulls firmly on the leash.

An early push from the pan-European STOXX 600
quickly faltered as tech struggled, the euro and government
bonds gained pre-ECB, and drooping oil and metals prices hit the
region's drillers and miners.

Analysts were waiting to see whether reports that the ECB
will fractionally revise up its COVID-battered economic and
inflation forecasts later would ultimately affect the chances of
a further ramping up of stimulus, which would rein in the euro.

The currency has firmed 8% against the dollar since the
spring and more than 4% against a basket of currencies weighted
by the bloc's foreign trade. It was hovering at $1.1830, not far
below the sensitive $1.20 level.

"What happens at the ECB today is quite important for global
markets," said TD Securities' European head of currency
strategy, Ned Rumpeltin.

"There is still one trade, which is reflate or die," he
said, referring to stimulus aid lifting asset prices. "So the
degree to which the ECB either takes that one step forward or
one step back today will be important."

Overnight, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares
outside Japan had snapped its longest losing
streak since February with a 0.7% gain. Japan's Nikkei
rose 0.9% and Chinese blue chips rose 0.8%.

Markets in Sydney and Hong Kong were just
better than flat though and, in a reminder of the risks, Jakarta
nosedived 5% on plans to re-introduce COVID-19 social
restrictions in the Indonesian capital.

Like Europe though, Wall Street futures were down between
0.5%-0.6% ahead of the restart there following the wild recent
run, in which super-charged tech stocks like Tesla and
Apple were suddenly torpedoed.

Mizuho Bank's head of economics and strategy in Singapore,
Vishnu Varathan, said investors were grappling with whether this
month's steep U.S. tech sell-off was really done, and beyond
that an increasingly uncertain U.S. political outlook and
persistent Sino-U.S. tensions.

Concerns about demand for fuel also had oil prices back
under pressure, in an indication of wavering confidence in
global growth.

Brent crude futures fell back to $40.45 a barrel
after bouncing back from a three-month low overnight. U.S. crude
futures slipped 0.8% to $37.68 a barrel.

Bond buyers also returned after a tepid response to a $35
billion U.S. 10-year auction overnight, pushing the yield on
U.S. 10-year debt down by a whisker to 0.6968%.

EURO WAITS FOR ECB

Most 10-year bond yields in the euro area were little
changed with calm in markets expected to prevail ahead of the
ECB policy decision at 1145 GMT and news conference at 1230
GMT.

Earlier concerns that the bank may turn dovish, or sound
worried about the euro's rise, have given way to an expectation
that it will be hard to justify more bond buying if it does inch
up its economic forecasts.

"The risk now is that the euro could lift after the ECB
meeting, if that is the case and there is more confidence," said
Commonwealth Bank of Australia currency analyst Kim Mundy,
something that would pull other currencies higher with it.

The pound was a touch higher too ahead of emergency
talks between Britain and the European Union after a British
proposal to ignore parts of the Brexit divorce pact threw trade
negotiations into turmoil.

Sterling last sat at $1.3006 and 90.91 pence per euro
.

U.S. jobless claims figures are due at 1230 GMT, and
investors are also intently focused on whether the U.S. stock
market bounce can actually hold firm.

Wednesday's Nasdaq rebound has recouped about a quarter of
the index's losses since it plunged from a record high on Sept.
2, but it has also highlighted how stretched some stocks are.

"It's too soon to say whether the rout is over, or whether
last night's recovery is simply a pause," ANZ analysts said in a
note on Thursday.

Gold was steady at $1,947 an ounce.

(Additional reporting by Tom Westbrook in Singapore
Editing by Peter Graff and Steve Orlofsky)

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