Global markets shaken by fears over Delta variant

European equities endure worst session of the year and US S&P 500 falls 1.6 per cent

The threat of the Delta coronavirus variant hit global equity markets on Monday, handing European bourses their worst session of the year and sending US stocks down 1.6 per cent. Commodity prices also fell and investors headed for the safe haven of government bonds. It helped to push the yield on the 10-year Treasury note to its lowest level in six months, extending a shift in investor sentiment as fears over runaway inflation have given way to creeping concerns over the durability of US growth, compounded by the spread of the Delta variant. Europe’s region-wide Stoxx Europe 600 lost 2.3 per cent in its biggest one day price fall of 2021, with London’s FTSE 100 dropping by the same amount.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the S&P 500 index lost more than 2 per cent before moderating in afternoon trading to close 1.6 per cent lower. The technology-focused Nasdaq Composite fell 1.1 per cent. In commodities, Brent crude, the international oil benchmark, declined 7.1 per cent to $68.38 a barrel.

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