NEW YORK (Reuters) – A sharp fall on Wall Street dragged a global stocks index down on Friday on concerns that the world’s two largest economies could resume a trade war, with many financial markets closed for a holiday.
The euro rose and the U.S. dollar fell against most of its peers, and the pound succumbed to weak economic data. Crude oil prices traded in and out of negative territory.
London, Tokyo and New York markets were open on Friday, and stocks were pressured lower in reaction to U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat to increase sanctions on China in retaliation for its handling of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Trump offered no evidence after claiming on Thursday he had seen proof that the virus originated in a Chinese laboratory. The pandemic, which has cost more than 60,000 lives in the United States alone, sparked an economic contraction and threatens Trump’s chances of re-election in November.
“A rise in tension between China and the U.S. certainly could have a negative impact on the U.S. economy and business confidence, which is already hurt from the shutdowns,” said Carin Pai, director of equity management at Fiduciary Trust International in New York.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 568.36 points, or 2.33%, to 23,777.36, the S&P 500 lost 79.71 points, or 2.74%, to 2,832.72 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 275.52 points, or 3.1%, to 8,614.03.
The benchmark London stocks index lost 2.34% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 2.21%. Japan’s Nikkei lost 2.84%.
U.S. Treasury yields were little changed after data showed manufacturing activity in the world’s largest economy plunged to an 11-year low in April.
Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 5/32 in price to yield 0.6386%, from 0.625% late on Thursday.
In a sign of the challenge facing global policymakers, the European Central Bank said on Friday the euro zone economy is likely to rebound in the second half of this year but may fail to return to last year’s level until as late as 2022 due to the pandemic.
However, the euro rose the most in nearly six weeks.
The dollar index fell 0.068%, with the euro up 0.22% to $1.0979.
The Japanese yen strengthened 0.35% versus the greenback at 106.83 per dollar, while sterling was last trading at $1.2492, down 0.79% on the day.
The offshore Chinese yuan hit its weakest in a month versus the U.S. dollar after Trump’s tariff threats.
Oil prices wobbled again as weak demand due to the virus and excess supply outweighed a record output cut by OPEC and its allies.
U.S. crude recently rose 6.9% to $20.14 per barrel and Brent was at $26.77, up 1.1% on the day.
Spot gold added 1.2% to $1,699.33 an ounce.
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