The stock market rebound arrived as covid-19 infections are rapidly spreading across the country. On Friday, public health officials reported nearly 100,000 new cases, the most in a single day, as infections surge in many battleground states that may decide the outcome of the presidential election. Adding to the escalating public health crisis, investors have had to grapple with stalled negotiations in Washington for a coronavirus rescue package and corporate earnings that reflected greater uncertainty about the state of business operations in the quarters ahead.
Global markets climbed on Monday, even as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a second national lockdown over the weekend as rising infections in England were poised to overwhelm hospitals by the end of the year. Starting later this week and through early December, all nonessential shops, pubs, cafes, restaurants and gyms in England have been ordered to shut down. Grocery stores, child-care facilities, schools, colleges and universities will, however, remain open.
Several European governments, including economic powerhouses Germany and France have enacted curfews and other social and business restrictions to combat a spike in infections.
The German DAX is up 1.4 percent, France’s CAC increased more than 2 percent and the Pan-European Stoxx gained 1.9 percent during trading on Monday. Asian markets climbed as well, with the Shanghai inching up 0.02 percent and the Nikkei picking up 1.4 percent for the day.
All three major indexes in the U.S. finished the month of October in the red, marking the second consecutive month of losses. Analysts say that investors should expect volatility in the weeks ahead, as the outcome of the presidential election is decided and as the transmission of the virus coincides with dropping temperatures in much of the U.S. and with flu season.
The uncertainty over the election is complicated further by the various scenarios in which one major party may control the White House while the other controls one or both chambers of Congress. For months investors have closely watched talks between Senate Republicans, the White House and House Democrats over a coronavirus aid package. While Democrats have already passed a $2.2 trillion version last month, the GOP has insisted on a smaller deal. Analysts say that a Democratic sweep of Congress and the White House would lead to an even larger stimulus, while a Trump reelection or a Republican victory in the Senate would mean a smaller deal.
The timing of the next round of massive government spending will also play a major factor in the volatility in the markets, analysts say. Without a safety net for households and businesses until as late as February, in the case of a divided government or a lame-duck presidency, investors have expressed fears that the U.S. economic recovery may stumble through the winter months.