It was largely a poor week for stock markets globally, with surges in Covid-19 cases overshadowing positive economic news during the week. China was one of the few markets to post positive returns following several weeks of more challenging performance.
US: Unemployment falls to lowest level since March 2020
In the US, the S&P 500 ended the week down 0.1%. President Biden’s plan to increase Capital Gains Tax rates for the wealthy weighed on markets. Initial unemployment claims fell to the lowest level since March 2020.
Asia: Rising cases impact Japanese and Indian stock markets
Japanese stocks fell 2.2% as the government looked to tackle surging Covid-19 cases. Indian stocks also fell sharply as the country was hit by a devastating Covid-19 second wave. Chinese stocks were up led by companies posting big jumps in earnings.
Europe: Major country stock markets fall during the week
In Europe, the Euro Stoxx 50 fell 0.4% and most major country benchmarks fell. Concerns that a rising coronavirus caseload could slow the pace of the economic recovery overshadowed strong corporate earnings and positive economic data.
UK: The economy shows signs of rebounding strongly
The FTSE 100 and the domestically focused FTSE 250 were down 1.1% and 0.6% respectively. The economy is showing signs of a strong rebound as companies reported surging demand and consumers begin spending cash as lockdown measures eased.
The Week Ahead
• In the UK, the focus will be on Covid-19 news and market sentiment
• In Europe, GDP, inflation, and unemployment data released
• In the US, GDP data released as the Federal reserve meet this week