Markets Weekly Recap
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- Stock market jitters renewed near the end of the week
- Delta variant caused increased worries that economic growth could be slowing down
Financial markets this week were largely subdued to short-term changes and events that were able to shift investors’ sentiment from one end to the other. Earlier in the week, major US indexes advanced to new record highs, propelled by strong signs that the economic recovery remained robust.
Major indexes across the EU and in the US were pushing higher for the first half of the week. Thursday’s performance, on the other hand, was overshadowed by lingering concerns that the global economic recovery could be dampened by the spread of the coronavirus’ Delta variant.
The highly transmissible virus strain stoked fears among investors that the economic reopening could be delayed as cases are quickly rising globally. In the US alone, Covid infections are 10% higher over the past week, as the Delta variant is accountable for over 51% of all confirmed cases.
Federal Reserve Places Emphasis on Supportive Monetary Policies
In Europe, major bourses also retreated from weekly highs on Thursday as the continental-wide Stoxx Europe 600 sank 1.72%. Growing worries around the Delta variant pushed stocks across all sectors lower as investors sought safety amid the increased uncertainty.
Gold also dropped near the end of the week. On Thursday, gold snapped its six-day winning streak and ended in negative territory, down about 1% from its session high. The precious metal hovered around the area of $1,800 throughout the week.
Before Thursday’s selloff, the Federal Reserve reiterated it will maintain its supportive monetary policy to allow the economic recovery to continue. In the minutes of the central bank’s latest policy meeting, Fed officials said that “uncertainty around the economic outlook was elevated.”
As the focus in the financial markets switched to preserving capital in times of increased risk, the cryptocurrency market hovered near unchanged levels for most of the week. Bitcoin was widely trading in the $33,000 to $36,000 range. Ether was consolidated in the neighborhood of $2,100 to $2,400.
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