GLOBAL MARKETS-Hong Kong tensions rattle world stock markets, oil tumbles

GLOBAL MARKETS-Hong Kong tensions rattle world stock markets, oil tumbles

Reuters  | May 23, 2020 04:30

GLOBAL MARKETS-Hong Kong tensions rattle world stock markets, oil tumbles

(Adds U.S. market close)
* China's Hong Kong security law unnerves markets
* Stocks slide in Asia, trade flat in Europe and Wall Street
* Oil prices tumble more than 5% before paring losses
* Dollar gains on safe-haven bids
* Graphic: World FX rates in 2020

By Herbert Lash and Dhara Ranasinghe
NEW YORK/LONDON, May 22 (Reuters) - Oil prices tumbled and
global equity markets fell on Friday as China's move to impose a
new security law on Hong Kong further strained U.S.-China
relations and clouded economic recovery prospects.
China also dropped its annual growth target for the first
time, adding to uncertainty about the fallout from the COVID-19
pandemic, boosting safe-haven investments such as U.S.
Treasuries US10YT=RR and the dollar. China said it would impose new national security legislation
on Hong Kong, leading President Donald Trump to warn that
Washington would react "very strongly" against any attempt to
gain more control over the former British colony. Emerging market shares slid -2.72%. Stocks in Europe closed
mostly flat and on Wall Street finished mixed as investors
prepared for a long weekend in the United States, the UK and
After trading lower most of the session, Wall Street trended
upward in late trading, with the S&P and the Dow managing to
finish higher.
"The market just keeps battling higher, it just wants to go
higher," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at
Inverness Counsel in New York. "It's anticipating improvement
and we've seen all the bad news."
Tensions between the world's two largest economies have
risen in recent weeks, with Washington ramping up criticism of
China over the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, raising
fears the rhetoric could crimp economic growth.
The U.S. Commerce Department said late in the session that
it is adding 33 Chinese companies and other institutions to a
blacklist for human rights violations and to address U.S.
national security concerns.
The resurgent U.S.-China standoff weighed on oil prices.
"You have these doubts over China that is triggering this
sell-off in oil, and it's going to gain steam. If oil sells off,
it's hard to have a strong stock market," said Ed Moya, senior
market analyst at OANDA in New York.
Of major asset classes, crude oil has rebounded the most off
the year's lows on hopes world economies will soon recover from
coronavirus-induced business shutdowns, he said, adding that he
believed oil's rally was overdone.
"There's just too much uncertainty, and that's going to
likely keep on weighing on risk appetite," Moya said.
MSCI's all-country world stock index .MIWD00000PUS shed
0.40%, but the pan-European STOXX 600 index .STOXX closed down
just 0.3%.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell
8.96 points, or 0.04%, to 24,465.16. The S&P 500 .SPX gained
6.94 points, or 0.24%, to 2,955.45, and the Nasdaq Composite
.IXIC added 39.71 points, or 0.43%, to 9,324.59.
Earlier in Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index .HSI slid
more than 5% to a seven-week low, its biggest daily percentage
fall since 2015. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares
outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS lost 2.7%; Japan's Nikkei .N225
fell 0.8%.
Analysts said extensive central bank stimulus continues to
underpin sentiment and buoy equity markets.
Japan's central bank unveiled a lending program to channel
nearly $280 billion to small businesses hit by the coronavirus.
India slashed rates for a second time this year and the European
Central Bank, in the minutes from its last meeting, said it was
ready to expand emergency bond purchases as early as June.
U.S. crude CLc1 fell 67 cents to settle at $33.25 a
barrel, paring about half earlier losses of more than 5%. Brent
LCOc1 settled at $35.13, down 93 cents on the day.
The dollar index =USD rose 0.331%, with the euro EUR=
down 0.42% to $1.0903. The Japanese yen JPY= strengthened
0.01% versus the greenback at 107.62 per dollar.
Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yields fell 0.2 basis points
to 0.6574% US10YT=RR .
Spot gold XAU= added 0.5% and U.S. gold futures GCv1
settled up 0.8% at $1,735.50 an ounce.

Emerging markets
Hong Kong stocks suffer biggest one-day slide since 2015

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