World stocks fell back on Thursday after a comeback by big technology shares that have thrived during the pandemic.
Excitement over news of potentially effective vaccines for COVID-19 has been tempered by concerns over the logistical challenges of ensuring access to billions of people. Meanwhile, caseloads are rising, leading governments to re-instate restrictions on business and other activities to battle the pandemic.
“Vaccine trades reversed to give way to ‘stay home' trades," as shares of technology companies and others that do well when people stay home and work remotely rallied, Mizuho Bank said in a commentary. But it added, “Fact of the matter is, progress on vaccine development is at worst two steps forward one step back, and not one step forward and two steps back on a sustained basis."
Germany's DAX lost 1% to 13,080 and the CAC 40 in Paris declined 1.2% to 5,379. In Britain, the FTSE 100 gave up 0.6% to 6,341 after new data showed that the economy slowed in September following strong growth in the summer. That bodes ill for the autumn, when new restrictions on businesses were imposed.
On Wall Street, the future for the S&P 500 fell 0.7% while the contract for the Dow industrials lost 0.4%.
In Asian trading, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index gained 0.7% to 25,520.88 despite a report that machinery orders fell in September, suggesting weakness in corporate investment. The benchmark has been trading near 30-year highs despite a resurgence of COVID-19 cases that has officials urging people to stay home over the holidays.
The mood was more somber elsewhere in the region.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell 0.2% to 26,169.38 and the Shanghai Composite index declined 0.1% to 3,338.68. In Seoul, the Kospi shed 0.4% to 2,475.62. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.5% to 6418.20.