(Adds mid-afternoon trading results, oil settlement prices)
By Lawrence Delevingne
BOSTON, July 30 (Reuters) – Stock markets, oil prices and the dollar slid on Thursday after President Donald Trump raised the possibility of delaying the November U.S. election and new government data underscored the coronavirus’ deep economic impact.
Trump, facing an immediate pushback from top Republicans, repeated his claims, without evidence, of mail-in voter fraud, writing in a post on Twitter, “delay the election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”
“It’s moved the market, for sure,” said Priya Misra, head of global rates strategy at TD Securities in New York. “Not only do we have uncertainty about who wins, I think we have uncertainty about the process.”
A report on additional jobless claims and collapsed gross domestic product had already set Wall Street up to open lower.
The MSCI world equity index fell 3.13 points or 0.56%, to 552.34.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 221.05 points, or 0.83%, to 26,318.52, and the S&P 500 lost 13.1 points, or 0.40%, at 3,245.34.
The Nasdaq Composite bucked the trend slightly, adding 0.48% to hit 10,593.16, with technology stocks like Amazon.com Inc, Apple Inc and Google-parent Alphabet Inc gaining in advance of their quarterly earnings after the bell.
In Europe, dismal earnings reports and weaker-than-expected German Gross Domestic Product data worsened an already sour mood, with the STOXX 600 closing down 2.2%. Germany’s DAX index slid 3.5%, with all 30 components declining.
Earlier gains in Asian shares were undone, with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closing 0.17% lower, while Japan’s Nikkei lost 0.26%.
U.S. GDP collapsed at a 32.9% annualized rate last quarter, slightly less than expected, but still the deepest decline in output since the government started keeping records in 1947, the Commerce Department said on Thursday.
“The fact that it was better than expected maybe is a good thing, but certainly not much better, and it’s still a terrible number,” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives with the Schwab Center for Financial Research.
The worries came despite news on Wednesday that all U.S. Federal Reserve members voted as expected to leave the target range for short-term interest rates between 0% and 0.25%, where it has been since March, and use its “full range of tools” if needed.
Investors must now watch negotiations in Washington over a new coronavirus relief package for the world’s largest economy.
Trump said on Wednesday his administration and Democrats in Congress were still “far apart” on a new coronavirus relief bill. Failure to agree risks letting a $600-per-week unemployment benefit lapse when it expires this week.
In currencies, the dollar index, which tracks the greenback versus a basket of six currencies, fell 0.365 points or 0.39%, to 93.088, and remains on course for its worst monthly performance in a decade.
The dollar has fallen on expectations the Fed will maintain its ultra-loose monetary policy for years, which risks adding inflationary pressure.
The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell 3.6 basis points to yield 0.5446%.
Oil prices fell on concerns that surging coronavirus infections worldwide would jeopardize a recovery in fuel demand. . Brent, the international benchmark, settled down 81 cents at $42.94 a barrel. U.S. crude futures fell $1.35 to settle at $39.92 a barrel.
Spot gold prices fell $17.8829, or 0.91%, to $1,952.49 an ounce. U.S. gold futures fell 0.6% to settle at $1,942.30 an ounce.
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