European and US stocks rebound, Nikkei tumbles on Covid-19 surge

·3-min read

European and US stocks staged a rebound Wednesday after two days of losses, while Japan's Nikkei tumbled on a worsening Covid-19 outbreak ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.

On Wall Street, most sectors advanced after a two-day retreat sparked partly by valuation fears. But investors took the drop as a cue to buy, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average gaining 0.9 percent to 34,137.31.

"The mood is very positive and it's a good sign," Peter Cardillo of Spartan Capital Securities told AFP. "It seems the market has finished with that small technical adjustment over the past few days."

London, Paris and Frankfurt all pushed higher earlier in the day.

"European markets are in recovery mode today, with stocks turning upward to regain lost ground after sharp declines yesterday," said analyst Joshua Mahony at trading firm IG.

"Markets are caught between optimism over vaccination progress at home and the fact that global efforts to combat the pandemic remain reliant upon economic restrictions until vaccines are widespread."

Japan's Nikkei slumped two percent after the port city of Osaka -- where hospital beds for seriously ill coronavirus patients have run out -- asked the central government to impose a state of emergency.

Infections there are rising just three months before the country hosts the virus-delayed Olympics, and Tokyo and several other areas are expected to follow in Osaka's footsteps.

Tokyo Olympics organizers said they may put off an announcement on how many fans can attend the Games until May or June in light of the virus situation.

Organizers have already barred overseas fans from the pandemic-delayed event, and were expected to announce an upper limit on domestic spectators sometime this month.

But Tokyo 2020 president Seiko Hashimoto said they are now only likely to "decide a direction" in April, and the decision could come as late as June -- possibly just a month before the Games open on July 23.

- Super League implosion -

Meanwhile, the focus was also on the implosion of the European Super League (ESL) project after all six English clubs involved withdrew, following a furious backlash from fans and football authorities.

Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan, AC Milan and Juventus then announced Wednesday that they were pulling out, dealing a fatal blow to the ESL and whittling the original "Dirty Dozen" down to just Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Shares in publicly-listed Italian side Juventus plunged Wednesday by more than 13 percent in Milan.

England's Manchester United saw its New York stock price rise two percent after having tumbled by six percent on Tuesday.

Among other individual companies, Netflix dropped 7.4 percent despite blowout earnings, as it projected lower-than-expected new subscribers.

Netflix executives said the slowing membership growth points to "big Covid-19 pull forward in 2020" and limitations to its programing due to pandemic-related production delays.

- Key figures around 2040 GMT -

New York - Dow: UP 0.9 percent at 34,137.31 (close)

New York - S&P 500: UP 0.9 percent at 4,173.42 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: UP 1.2 percent at 13,950.22 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.5 percent at 6,895.29 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.4 at 15,195.97 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.7 percent at 6,210.55 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.9 percent at 3,976.41 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 2.0 percent at 28,508.55 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 1.8 percent at 28,621.92 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: FLAT at 3,472.93 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.2033 from $1.2036

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3925 from $1.3937

Euro/pound: UP at 86.40 pence from 86.36 pence

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 108.07 yen from 108.11 yen

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 1.9 percent at $65.32 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 2.2 percent at $61.35 per barrel