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Global stocks drop as Hong Kong violence rattles investors

Stock MarketsNov 11, 2019 07:31AM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen outside the entrance of the London Stock Exchange in London

By Tom Wilson

LONDON (Reuters) - Shares around the globe fell on Monday, buffeted by escalating violence in Hong Kong that pushed Asian stocks to their worst day since August and stoked demand for the safe-haven yen and gold.

In the 24th straight week of pro-democracy unrest, Hong Kong police shot and wounded a protester as the Chinese-ruled territory saw rare working-hours violence.

The MSCI world equity index (MIWD00000PUS), which tracks shares in 47 countries, slipped 0.2%, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng index (HSI) falling 2.6% and leading losses across Asia.

There, MSCI's widest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan (MIAPJ0000PUS) fell 1.2% from six-month highs to set a course for its worst day since late August. Chinese blue chips (CSI300) dropped 1.8%.

The nerves spread to Europe, too.

The broad Euro STOXX 600 (STOXX) fell 0.4%, with London shares (FTSE) losing 1.1%. Wall Street futures gauges also suffered, suggesting losses of around 0.4% (ESc1).

Some investors said markets could be affected by any further escalation of the violence in Hong Kong, where protesters are angry about what they see as police brutality and meddling by Beijing in the freedoms guaranteed to the former British colony.

"At some stage I think it is likely that there will be a more fully-fledged crackdown," said Stéphane Barbier de la Serre, a strategist at Makor Capital Markets.

"And if you see a crackdown, you could see markets collapsing."

The violence sent investors running for assets perceived as safe havens and away from riskier currencies.

Gold rose 0.5%, rebounding from a three-month low touched on Friday to reach $1,465.36 per ounce.

The Japanese yen , which often strengthens in times of global political or economic turmoil, strengthened 0.3% against the dollar. China's yuan, in contrast, weakened 0.3% to 7 per dollar in offshore trade .

Sterling gained 0.3% against the dollar after figures showed that Britain's economy had dodged a recession - but grown at its slowest annual pace in almost 10 years.

It was last trading at $1.28.

The GDP data compounded a warning from Moody's on Friday that it might cut its rating on Britain's sovereign debt again, as it lowered the outlook on Britain's current rating to negative from stable.

TRADE WAR

Investors were also focused on the U.S-China trade talks.

After a bout of optimism last week over prospects that Washington and Beijing could reach an initial deal to alleviate their 18-month old dispute, doubts gnawed at markets again.

On Saturday, U.S. President Donald Trump said talks had moved more slowly than he would have liked. He said reports that the United States was willing to lift tariffs were incorrect, adding that Beijing wanted a deal more than he did.

Still, some market players said Trump's comments fitted an established pattern of optimistic rhetoric being followed by a more skeptical tone.

A deal was still likely, they said.

"It's the usual two steps forward and one step backwards," said Adam Cole, head of FX strategy at RBC Capital Markets.

"We are probably still moving in the direction (of a deal), and that's the way the market is priced on balance."

The uncertainty over trade weighed on commodities markets commodities.

Oil lost 1.3%, with concerns over trade and worries about oversupply weighed on the market. Brent crude was down 82 cents to $61.88 by late morning.

In Europe, Spanish government bond yields held their ground after a weekend election delivered a fractured parliament and set the stage for difficult talks to form a ruling coalition.

The far-right surged in the poll, the fourth in as many years. Spain's 10-year bond yield was flat at 0.40% (ES10YT=RR).

Most other major bond yields across the euro zone were little changed, holding below highs reached on Friday as investors showed scant appetite for risk in the wake of the Hong Kong violence.

U.S. bond markets were closed for the Veteran's Day holiday.

Global stocks drop as Hong Kong violence rattles investors
 

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Comments (8)
Suman Jutur
Suman Jutur Nov 11, 2019 7:10AM ET
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just find a reason and attach it to the fall.
Chris Sundo
Chris Sundo Nov 11, 2019 3:49AM ET
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Hong Kong showing Americans how to stand up for justice !! Get the hint Americans ?? --- === IMO Americans should climb the barricades Hong Kong style for being burdened with steeper Medicare fees on Remembrance & Veterans Day when those Medicare fees could be carried fully by rich corporations like it's done in other countries. Americans learn from HONG KONG and should climb the barricades, Hong Kong style, to stand up for ZERO DOLLAR USA HEALTHCARE PREMIUMS and give their leaders a demonstration to remember. --- Canadian Medicare fees have been fully transferred from the financially struggling population to the financially leveraged corporations effective 2020 January 1st. Free Canadian Medicare for all !! --- Americans, What are you waiting for ?? It says somewhere: If thou asked thou shalt receive ;)
Chris Sundo
Chris Sundo Nov 11, 2019 2:39AM ET
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In Asia red used to be market going up. Did they change to bow to the Americans?
MAT DEY
MAT DEY Nov 11, 2019 1:35AM ET
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sell gold 1420 coming , the reserve want gold cheap
Bo TR
Bo TR Nov 10, 2019 10:39PM ET
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stocks fall amid trade uncertainty. as always :)
Grant Hagen
Grant Hagen Nov 10, 2019 9:36PM ET
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Markets dictate the narrative
Grant Hagen
Grant Hagen Nov 10, 2019 9:09PM ET
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Some quality reporting
Grant Hagen
Grant Hagen Nov 10, 2019 8:48PM ET
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Asia is rolling over btw
 
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