Update: US mixed equities; Oil prices and bond yields tumble as COVID-19 outbreak in Europe pushes Austria into nationwide lockdown

U.S. stocks were mixed on Friday as bonds and the dollar rose and crude oil slumped as a COVID-19 resurgence in Europe led Austria to announce a nationwide lockdown, with Germany considering a as US cases also increased.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.4% to 35,719.20, while the S&P 500 rose 0.2% and the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.6%.

Tech stocks performed better while energy and financials lagged.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell $ 3.60 to $ 75.41 per barrel, its lowest level since early October.

The dollar weakened 0.4% against the Japanese yen to 113.78, but appreciated against the euro and pound sterling. Austria will become the first country in Europe to impose COVID-19 vaccines by law and announced a full national lockdown from Monday amid a fourth wave of COVID-19 sweeping the continent, according to a Sky report.

German Health Minister Jens Spahn has hinted that the country could follow Austria in announcing a full lockdown, the report added. Germany is the largest economy in Europe and is among the top five world exporters.

The 10-year US Treasury yield fell 4.1 basis points to 1.55%, previously falling to 1.52%.

Sovereign curves are recovering across maturities, with the US Treasury yield curve shifting lower, Derek Holt, head of capital markets economics at Scotiabank, said in a research note Friday. The dollar and other safe havens such as the yen and Swiss franc are recovering, but the euro is suffering as the epicenter of pandemic concerns is currently in Europe, he said.

“The first answer is to seek safe havens, but supply chain risks and links to inflation could trigger double thinking about this,” Holt said. “The United States is seeing a slight increase in the rates of new cases that focus primarily on the Midwest, but after Thanksgiving it will require close monitoring given some of the airlines’ travel forecasts.”

In company news, Intuit (INTU) reported on Thursday evening adjusted first quarter earnings and adjusted sales that exceeded expectations. The accounting software maker’s profit forecast for the next three months was above consensus. Its shares jumped 9.7% intraday, the highest on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq.

The United States Food and Drug Administration has extended emergency use authorizations for COVID-19 vaccine recalls produced by Moderna (MRNA) and Pfizer (PFE) with its partner, BioNTech (BNTX), to include all people aged 18 or over, provided they have completed their first cycle of vaccination. Moderna shares were among the biggest winners on the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq.

Nike (NKE) increased its quarterly cash dividend 11% to $ 0.305 per share. Shares of the footwear and sportswear retailer rose 3%, the strongest performance in the Dow Jones after noon.

Boeing (BA) has slowed manufacturing of 787 Dreamliner planes to resolve defects in areas adjacent to passenger and cargo doors, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter. Stocks fell 4.9%, the lowest intraday yield on the Dow Jones.

In the metals markets, gold was down 0.4% to $ 1,853.10, silver was down 0.9% to $ 24.67 an ounce, but copper was up 2. 4% at $ 4.41 per pound. Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund lost 2.8% to $ 53.99 while the United States Natural Gas Fund rose 1.4% to $ 16.60.


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Felix J. Dixon