In European Equity Markets the pan-European Stoxx 600 closed marginally higher, with sectors and major bourses pointing in different directions. Oil and gas stocks fell over 1% to lead losses while construction shares were the top gainers adding 0.6%. NMC Health’s London-listed shares jumped 32% to lead the Stoxx 600 after announcing it had received two preliminary approaches from private equity firms, and that two other major investors were under review for inaccurate disclosures.
In Currency Markets a stronger U.S. dollar dragged the euro down to its lowest level in months as investors expected the U.S. economy to remain resilient to the spread of the coronavirus across the world, with payroll data from last week reinforcing traders’ optimism. The Australian dollar rose 0.3% to 0.6694 per U.S. dollar, pulling away from a decade-low touched earlier in the session. It has lost 4.5% this year. The U.S. dollar, however, was stronger against other major currencies. It pushed the euro to match a four-month low of $1.0942.
In Commodities Markets oil prices fell on Monday on weaker Chinese oil demand in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and as traders waited to see if Russia would join other producers in seeking further output cuts. Oil has fallen more than 20% from a peak in January after the spreading virus hit demand in the world’s largest oil importer and fuelled concerns of excess supplies. Brent crude fell to $53.89 a barrel by 1455 GMT, down 58 cents or 1.1%. U.S. West Texas Intermediate fell 24 cents to $50.08 a barrel or 0.5%.
In US Equity Markets stocks ticked higher on Monday, as people returned to work in China after an extended new year holiday triggered by the coronavirus outbreak but sentiment remained fragile. Electric car-maker Tesla Inc jumped 6.3% as its Shanghai factory returned to service. The S&P 500 was up 0.18%, at 3,333.76. The Nasdaq Composite rose 0.36%, at 9,554.48. L Brands Inc rose 2.5% after a report the retailer was nearing a deal to sell Victoria’s Secret to Sycamore Partners.
In Bond Markets weekend headlines about the death toll from the coronavirus surpassing that of the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic kept demand for safe-haven U.S. Treasury debt robust, driving yields lower on Monday morning. The 10-year Treasury yield , which moves inversely to price, has fallen 17.8% since Dec. 31. It was last 0.7 basis points lower to 1.571%. Across maturities Treasury yields were lower, with the two-year note yield down 0.4 basis point to 1.395% and the 30-year bond yield down 0.8 basis point to 2.034%.