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Banking shares retreat as markets weigh mixed trends on Covid-19

·3-min read
The quick rollout of vaccines in Britain and the United States has lifted optimism for the economic recovery

Banking shares were under pressure Monday in Europe and the United States on worries over losses connected to US fund Archegos Capital Management, as investors weighed the latest mixed trends on the coronavirus.

Top global banks Nomura of Japan and Switzerland's Credit Suisse warned they could face significant losses following reports of their exposure to a US fund that liquidated billions in stocks last week.

The price of shares for Nomura plunged by 16 percent in Tokyo after it warned of a potential $2 billion loss, while Credit Suisse shed 14 percent.

Other large banks also fell, as investors fretted over a possible spread of the so-called "fire sale."

The plight of Archegos "highlighted the leveraged, speculative trading in the market right now and stirred some concerns about a contagion effect, although many strategists talked down contagion risk," said Briefing.com.

Broader indices had a muted session. Paris and Frankfurt both ended the day higher, while London drifted lower.

In the US, the Dow edged to a fresh record, while both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq retreated.

Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities, called Monday's trend a "continuation of a reallocation" away from tech names and towards companies likely to benefit from a recovering economy.

Hogan said investors are also in a "tug of war" over conflicting news about the coronavirus.

A new study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pointed to strong efficacy of the Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines as the US vaccination campaign accelerates.

But the study's release came as CDC director Rochelle Walensky described a "recurring feeling I have of impending doom" at data showing an uptick in new cases.

"Please hold on for a little while longer," she said, calling on elected leaders and people who are influential in their communities to drive home the message.

Oil prices finished with modest gains as traffic resumed on the Suez Canal after a massive container ship blocking the waterway was freed.

The Suez Canal Authority said the Ever Given was back afloat and traffic resuming in one of the most important routes for global trade and crude shipments that had been shut for almost a week.

Crude prices were choppy throughout the day, but finally finished up as investors eye a meeting of major crude producers later this week.

"Recent price weakness has fueled speculation that the group of producers will again refrain from unwinding their extraordinary production curtailment this week," said a note from TD Securities.

- Key figures around 2110 GMT -

New York - Dow: UP 0.3 percent at 33,171.37 (close)

New York - S&P 500: DOWN 0.1 percent at 3,971.09 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: DOWN 0.6 percent at 13,059.65 (close)

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.1 percent at 6,736.17 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.5 percent at 14,817.72 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.5 percent at 6,015.51 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.4 percent at 3,882.87 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.7 percent at 29,384.52 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: FLAT at 28,338.30 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.5 percent at 3,435.30 (close)

West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.0 percent at $61.56 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.6 percent at $64.98 per barrel

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1764 from $1.1794 at 2200 GMT

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3765 from $1.3789

Euro/pound: DOWN at 85.44 pence from 85.53 pence

Dollar/yen: UP at 109.81 yen from 109.64 yen

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