European stock markets were generally trending lower than expected, affected by the global anxiety, as hesitation regarding the speed of economic reopening weighed on sentiment.
In Germany: the DAX futures contract dropped 0.1%, in France CAC 40 futures fell 0.4% and the British FTSE 100 futures contract lost 0.5%.
The current growth in COVID-19 fresh cases and deaths depict “truly worrying trends,” explained World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
The United Nations agency had emphasized earlier this week that the majority of countries across the globe experience a surge in new COVID-19 cases as new variants of the virus keep spreading.
The Netherlands shared that a nationwide curfew and other measures intended to contain the virus will last three more weeks until the end of April – thus Netherlands followed the measures taken in Germany, France and Italy countries that have already tightened lockdowns and other restrictive measures.
Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average decreased 0.9%, the S&P 500 dropped 0.8% and the Nasdaq Composite lost 1.1%.
In Asia the general market overview looked much the same. Japan’s Nikkei dropped 2%, South Korea’s KOSPI fell 0.3%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 2%.
Adding to the general anxiety, trust in the safety of AstraZeneca (NASDAQ:AZN)’s vaccine was recently hit after a U.S. health agency said its trial may have included outdated information.
On a brighter note, the expansion of Japan’s factory activity gathered pace in March, with the country’s flash PMI rising to a seasonally adjusted 52.0 in March from a final 51.4 in February.