Global equities trended lower on Thursday on concerns about the long-term economic impact of the new coronavirus and simmering U.S.-China tensions, though oil markets set aside those worries and marched to a 2-1/2 month high.
The London .FTSE, Paris .FCHI and Frankfurt .GDAX bourses fell as did the S&P 500 and Nasdaq on Wall Street, but the Dow industrials edged higher in choppy trade.
Gold slipped 1%, as a strong dollar pushed it off this week’s 7-1/2 year peak.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 198.19 points, or 0.81%, to 24,377.71. The S&P 500 .SPX lost 32.61 points, or 1.10%, to 2,939 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 120.43 points, or 1.28%, to 9,255.35.
In Europe, purchasing manager index surveys (PMIs) confirmed economic activity has begun to return, though they were far from stellar.
Euro zone-wide figures came in better than expected overall but Germany’s improvement undershot forecasts. It was the third month in a row that the surveys were plonked firmly in economic contraction territory.
Oil rose on the view that slumping fuel demand should rebound. Brent, the international benchmark, has bounced up $20 a barrel over the past month.