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Tuesday, August 04, 2020, 22:51
Escalating Sino-US tensions strain S&P 500, Dow
By Reuters
Tuesday, August 04, 2020, 22:51 By Reuters

LONDON - The S&P 500 and Nasdaq ticked lower on Tuesday as US President Donald Trump’s moves to force China-owned TikTok into a sale of its US operations drew a sharp rebuke from Beijing, ratcheting up tensions as the world slides into a pandemic-fuelled recession.

The S&P 500 opened lower by 4.69 points, or 0.14 percent, at 3,289.92. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 4.91 points, or 0.04 percent, to 10,897.89 at the opening bell.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.21 points at the open to 26,664.61.

After a rally on Monday, European shares opened higher but then fell, with the pan-European STOXX 600 down 0.6 percent and London's FTSE 100 down 0.7 percent.

Disappointing earnings reports from the world’s largest spirits maker, Diageo Plc, and German drugs and pesticides group Bayer took the shine off growth-linked cyclical stocks.

Shares in BP jumped after it cut its dividend and posted a record loss that was in line with expectations.

The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 49 countries, was up 0.4 percent after reaching a five-month high just after 0700 GMT. MSCI’s main European Index was flat on the day.

The rebound in the dollar faltered, with investors still waiting for Washington to make progress in talks over the next round of fiscal stimulus.

A US$600-per-week enhanced unemployment benefit, which provided a lifeline for the tens of millions of Americans who lost their jobs due to the pandemic, expired on Friday.

Lawmakers said they had made progress in the talks, and US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will meet again with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Tuesday, raising hopes for a breakthrough.

The dollar index was down 0.2 percent on the day at 93.387 =USD. The euro rose 0.2 percent against the dollar, to US$1.17885.

Ten-year German bond yields edged down to -0.5249, still above the two-month lows reached at the end of last week DE10YT=RR.

Spot gold held close to all-time highs, at US$1,974.77 per ounce, amid mounting COVID-19 cases and a warning from the World Health Organization that the road to normality would be long.

Oil prices slipped on fears that a new wave of COVID-19 infections could curtail a pick-up in fuel demand, just as major producers ramp up output.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 eased 21 cents, or 0.5 percent to US$40.79 a barrel at 0800 GMT. Brent crude LCOc1 futures fell 25 cents, or 0.6 percent to US$43.90 a barrel.

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