In Asian Equity Markets stocks made a wobbly start to the week while oil and the euro were under pressure on Monday, as the return of COVID-19 restrictions in Europe and talk about hastened tapering from the U.S. Federal Reserve put investors on guard. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.1 percent. Chipmakers stood out as gaining against the tide, on a brightened demand outlook, helping Japan’s Nikkei stay steady and lifting South Korea’s Kospi by 1 percent. Samsung and SK Hynix each rose by more than 5 percent.

In Currency Markets the safe-haven U.S. dollar traded close to a 16-month high to the euro on Monday on growing anxiety over the impact of surging COVID-19 infections in Europe, with Austria reimposing a full lockdown and Germany considering following suit. The dollar index traded little changed at 96.148. The euro fell 0.25 percent to $1.12705 — the 16-month low hit on Friday. The Aussie gained 0.22 percent to $0.72525, supported by a rise in iron ore prices. The dollar gained 0.1 percent against its fellow safe-haven Japanese currency, changing hands at 114.15 yen per dollar.

In US Equity Markets the Nasdaq Composite Index closed above 16,000 points for the first time on Friday, in its second-straight record finish powered by technology stocks, while pandemic jitters sent the Dow to its fourth losing session in the last five. The Dow fell 0.75 percent, to 35,601.98; the S&P 500 lost 0.14 percent, at 4,697.96; and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.4 percent, to 16,057.44. Chipmaker Nvidia Corp rose 4.1 percent to its third straight closing high, and the Philadelphia semiconductor index, up 0.3 percent, hit its third record closing high in four.

In Commodities Markets oil prices fell about 3 percent to below $80 a barrel on Friday as rising COVID-19 cases in Europe threatened to slow the economic recovery while investors also weighed a potential release of crude reserves by major economies to cool prices. Brent futures for January fell 2.9 percent, to settle at $78.89 a barrel. U.S. WTI crude for December fell 3.6 percent, to $76.10 on its last day as the front-month. Spot gold fell 0.6 percent to $1,848.05 per ounce. Silver fell 0.6 percent to $24.63. Platinum slid 1.8 percent to $1,028.74, while palladium declined 3.4 percent to $2,060.24.

In European Equity Markets stocks fell Friday, clocking their first weekly decline in seven weeks on concerns over the economic damage from fresh COVID-19 lockdowns in the region that hammered cyclical sectors such as banks and automakers. The pan-European STOXX 600 index fell 0.3 percent after hovering near record highs earlier in the session. Frankfurt shares fell 0.4 percent, while sectors more exposed to economic cycles such as banks, automakers and travel & leisure fell between 1.5 percent and 2.2 percent. South European markets, including those in Spain and Italy, fell about 1.5 each.

In Bond Markets long-dated U.S. Treasury yields fell on Friday as concerns about new lockdowns related to the spread of COVID-19 in Europe increased demand for safe-haven bonds, though the move was likely exaggerated by low liquidity. Benchmark 10-year notes last yielded 1.538 percent, down five basis points on the day, after falling as low as 1.515 percent. the lowest since Nov. 10. The two-year yields were last at 0.505 percent, after falling to 0.446 percent earlier in the day.

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