Coronavirus cases rise, U.S. stimulus hits impasse

European stocks are expected to open slightly lower on Wednesday as countries around the world report rises in new coronavirus cases, while a fresh U.S. relief package hits an impasse in Washington.

Britain’s FTSE 100 is seen around 8 points lower at 6,121, Germany’s DAX is set to slide by around 59 points to 12,776 and France’s CAC 40 is expected to edge down by around 4 points to 4,925, according to IG data.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled Senate Republicans’ proposed $1 trillion coronavirus aid bill on Monday, but Democrats have criticized the package’s limitations compared to a $3 trillion proposal that passed the House of Representatives in May. Complicating matters further, President Donald Trump on Tuesday voiced disagreement with some aspects of the bill, though talks are continuing.

Tuesday was the second consecutive day that the U.S. reported more than 1,000 fatalities, while China reported 101 new cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday, its sharpest daily increase for more than three and a half months.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam has warned that the city faces an outbreak that could lead to the “collapse” of its hospital system, with 106 new cases reported Tuesday. In France, confirmed cases rose to 183,804 from 183,079 on Monday.

On a more positive note, Pfizer and Moderna have each begun phase three trials of their respective vaccine candidates, eyeing launches by the end of the year.

Investors will also be monitoring the outcome of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s latest monetary policy meeting, with Chairman Jerome Powell expected to reiterate the central bank’s dovish stance later on Wednesday.

Back in Europe, Deutsche Bank on Wednesday reported a smaller-than-expected net loss attributable to shareholders of 77 million euros ($90.3 million) for the second quarter of 2020, while increasing its credit loss provisions to reflect the expected impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

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