Global Equities Drop as New Quarter Starts With a Focus on Virus Worries

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Global Equities Drop as New Quarter Starts With a Focus on Virus Worries

Global equities kicked off the fresh quarter with losses as concerns over the pandemic’s spread in the U.S. spooked investors, although the red ink diminished after the release of the latest employment figures.

Automatic Data Processing reported that 2.369 million jobs were added in June, fewer than the 2.9 million jobs the report was expected to show. But the payroll-processing company also said that 3 million jobs were added in May—a reversal from the loss of 2.76 million positions it had originally reported.

Shortly after the figures came out, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 105 points, or 0.4%, compared with a loss of more than 1% before the announcement. Futures on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite were down 0.3% and 0.2%, respectively.

The ADP numbers come before government data due out Thursday that is expected to show a gain of 3 million nonfarm jobs. That is after a surprising gain of 2.5 million in May.

The Dow and S&P 500 closed out the second quarter with the best performances in more than 20 years, but after a brutal first quarter as the pandemic took hold.

“While the newspapers are full of a very impressive stock market recovery last quarter, the fact is, the gains came off of stocks rising from the ashes as the Fed took giant steps and continues to provide liquidity,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital, in note to clients.

Investors will be keeping an eye on U.S. coronavirus outbreaks after Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned in Senate testimony on Tuesday that U.S. infections could reach 100,000 a day from a current level of 35,000.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 index was down 0.3%, partly supported by news that the final eurozone manufacturing purchasing managers index for June rose to 47.4, from a previous estimate of 46.9 and May’s level of 39.4, according to IHS Markit.

In Asia, the China CSI 300 index jumped 2% after the Caixin China manufacturing PMI climbed to a six-month high of 51.2 in June from 50.7 in May.

Macy’s (ticker: M) shares fell 2.3% premarket after the department-store chain reported a loss of $3.6 billion, or $11.53 a share, for its fiscal first quarter, matching previous guidance, due to shutdowns spurred by the coronavirus pandemic. The retailer said it expects the country to feel the impact of the pandemic for at least the rest of the year.

FedEx (FDX) soared 11.2% after reporting fiscal fourth-quarter results after Tuesday’s close. The shipping company has seen a surge in demand because stay-at-home orders have forced, or encouraged, people to shop online.

Beyond Meat (BYND) saw its shares pop 10.3% after the plant-based meat company announced that it will sell its food in stores operated by Alibaba Group Holding (BABA) in China. Beyond Meat has been on a tear recently, after previously announcing agreements to sell its food to Starbucks (SBUX), KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell restaurants in China.