NEW YORK (Reuters) – Global equity markets recovered from one-month lows on Monday as robust factory data last month in China and Europe offset news of new COVID-19 lockdowns, while the dollar and gold rose on simmering uncertainty over the U.S. presidential election.
Chinese factory activity that expanded at its fastest pace in a decade and accelerating manufacturing in the euro zone eased concerns about a resurgent pandemic that drove MSCI’s world equity index down almost 8% over the prior three weeks.
But the dollar hit one-month highs against a basket of peers as risk sentiment, which has faded over the past week, remained sour on election jitters and as expected volatility in major currencies rose to its highest level since April.
U.S. Treasury yields mostly drifted lower as investors braced for an eventful week that also includes a Federal Reserve meeting and the October unemployment report.
“A lot is going to depend on the outcome of the election and we might not get that outcome tomorrow night,” said Kim Rupert, managing director of global fixed income analysis at Action Economics in San Francisco.
MSCI’s global benchmark of equity performance in 49 countries advanced 1.13% to 557.2 and its index for emerging markets stocks rose 0.93%.
Europe’s broad FTSEurofirst 300 index added 1.52% to 1,345.63, while on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.35%, the S&P 500 gained 1.07% and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.36%.
Analysts are concerned an uncertain election outcome could cloud the prospect for more fiscal stimulus and its size, which likely will depend on which party has a Senate majority.
Republican President Donald Trump trails Democratic challenger Joe Biden in national opinion polls, but polls in the swing states that will decide the election show a closer race.
The VIX volatility index, which rose to its highest in four months last week, eased almost half a point to 37.55.
Renewed lockdowns in Europe and parts of the United States have dimmed the outlook for fuel consumption, keeping crude prices well under $40 a barrel.
Brent crude futures rose $0.16 to $38.1 a barrel. U.S. crude futures gained $0.16 to $35.95 a barrel.
Brent earlier had slumped to $35.74 a barrel, a level not seen since late May. U.S. crude slid as low as $33.64. [O/R]
Coronavirus cases surged last week with Europe crossing the bleak milestone of 10 million total infections, while a record surge in U.S. cases is killing up to 1,000 people a day.
In currencies, the UK pound fell 0.3% to $1.2902 after hitting its lowest in almost four weeks on news of the national lockdown. The euro was last down 0.11%, at $1.1634.
The Japanese yen weakened 0.18% versus the greenback to 104.82 per dollar.
Spot gold prices rose 0.64% to $1,890.01 an ounce.
The 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell 2.2 basis points to 0.8367%.
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