Global stocks edged below record highs on Tuesday as investors digested a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases around the world in one of the fastest rates since the pandemic began.
The VIX index, which is often referred to as Wall Street’s “fear gauge,” logged its biggest rise in three weeks by ticking up 1.04 basis points to 17.35, suggesting markets expect a rise in volatility over the next 30 days.
The global coronavirus case count is continuing to rise rapidly, with record case numbers being reported around the world. Japan is considering another virus state of emergency, the UK implemented a travel ban for visitors from India due to high case counts, and Argentina is being hit by a fierce second wave.
Numbers in the US are fairly stable, but that shadows a noticeable divergence between states, Deutsche Bank analysts said.
Separately, earnings this week could provide another catalyst that gives the overall market a sense of direction. United Airlines fell 2.1% after Monday’s close as the company indicated quarterly losses would continue until air travel bounces back to 65% of 2019 levels. Tesla fell 3.4% after two men died in one of its cars that Texas local authorities said were driverless.
Bitcoin dropped another 3% on Tuesday to around $54,000 – almost 18% lower from its all-time high last week.
Elsewhere in Europe, publicly-traded football clubs were among the biggest winners following news of the Wall-Street financed breakaway European Super League. Shares in the Italian club Juventus soared 17% in its best day since 2013, while Manchester United jumped 8%.
But plans by Europe’s biggest clubs to launch a separate competition have come under criticism, and politicians have stepped in. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted these would be “very damaging for football and we support football authorities in taking action.”
Separately, the European Union on Monday expanded an advance purchase agreement to receive an extra 100 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, taking the total number of doses delivered to the bloc to 600 million.
Asia stocks retreated after investors followed weakness in the US tech sector’s corporate earnings.