Global Stocks Pause as US Protests Threaten Economic Recovery

Gains in Asia were capped as Chinese trade data published on Sunday showed exports contracted in May.

World shares paused on Monday as investors turned cautious after a 42 percent surge since March, as economies continued to struggle with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Europe's blue-chip stock index opened 0.5 percent lower after its best weekly gain in more than eight years. The index was dragged down by healthcare and tech stocks, which were resilient throughout the coronavirus crisis.

Gains In Asia Capped

US S&P 500 futures inched 0.1 percent lower, giving up most of the gains made earlier in the day. Asia shares rose in a catch-up rally following Friday's US jobs data, which showed a surprising recovery, raising hopes of a quicker global economic revival from the coronavirus pandemic.

Gains in Asia were capped as a Chinese trade data published on Sunday showed exports contracted in May as global lockdowns continued to weaken demand. A bigger-than-expected fall in imports pointed to mounting pressure on manufacturers as world growth stalled.

Representational picture Pixabay

"European stocks are probably under pressure following weak China data overnight. However, we do not think this marks the end of the rally," said Marija Vertimane, senior strategist at State Street Global Markets.

"We are beginning to see evidence of economic data improving gradually and thankfully no major secondary spikes in infections. We expect that to encourage investors to come back to the market."

Drop In Unemployment Rate

The MSCI all-country world stocks index, which covers 49 markets around the world, is now 7 percent away from a record high. Wall Street's fear gauge remained pinned below 30 points in June on encouraging economic data and central bank stimulus.

The US Labor Department's closely watched employment report showed an unexpected drop in the jobless rate to 13.3 percent last month from 14.7 percent in April, a post-World War Two high. The data raised hopes of a quick economic recovery as governments worldwide ease social curbs aimed at stemming the virus.

China stocks
Representational Picture Reuters

The jobs data also pushed up US bond yields, with the 10-year Treasuries yield rising as high as 0.959 percent on Friday, a level not seen since mid-March. It last stood at 0.929 percent. The gains in US bond yields over the past couple of days put more focus on the US Federal Reserve, which will hold a two-day policy meeting ending on Wednesday.

Protests Threaten Economic Recovery

Fed Chair Jerome Powell has said the US economy could feel the weight of the economic shutdown for more than a year. Hopes of a quick recovery in the US could be quashed by mounting waves of protests demanding police reform after the killing of a black man in Minneapolis.

"From an economic standpoint, protests certainly add to the damage done by Covid-19, which could mean that the US might delay opening up its economy even more," said George Lagarias, chief economist at Mazars.

In Europe, yields on top-rated German government bonds dipped but remained near the more than two-month highs hit last week after the European Central Bank expanded its emergency stimulus scheme. Brent crude climbed 1.5 percent to $42.93 per barrel. US West Texas Intermediate crude rose 1.3 percent to $40.08 a barrel.

The broad improvement in sentiment weighed on the safe-haven Japanese yen, which stood at 109.5 to the dollar, near Friday's 10-week low of 109.85. The euro changed hands at $1.1303, after touching a three-month high of $1.1384 on Friday.