European markets reversed course Wednesday after two days of gains, as growing optimism about the trend of the coronavirus pandemic was tempered with news of the mounting death toll.
Britain’s FTSE, the CAC-40 in Paris and the DAX in Frankfurt were all trending down over 1% by late Wednesday afternoon. The selloff followed on the heels of Asia’s mixed trading session, which ended with losses in Australia, Hong Kong, Seoul and Shanghai, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed 2% higher.
But trading on Dow Jones, S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures markets were all trending upward, while prices in oil markets were also on the rebound. U.S. crude oil futures surged past $25 a barrel Wednesday, after losing 9.4% the day before, while Brent crude, the international standard, gained just over $1 to finish past $32 per barrel.
Financial markets had rallied over the past two days over cautious optimism over a decline of new infections and deaths in some countries. But Tuesday saw an increase in deaths and new COVID-19 cases in Britain, France, some eastern European countries, Sweden, Japan and the United States.
Close to 1.5 million COVID-19 cases have been confirmed worldwide and more than 82,000 have died so far.