European nations are stepping up vaccination campaigns, but some are also restricting activities again, which investors fear could hurt their economies

New York (AFP) - The eurozone’s main stock markets fell Tuesday, as the spreading Covid crisis took the shine off upbeat survey data.

Wall Street indices were mixed after another choppy session in a holiday shortened week centered on Thanksgiving in the United States on Thursday, when Wall Street will be closed.

Meanwhile oil prices rallied despite President Joe Biden’s announcement that Washington will release 50 million barrels of crude from strategic reserves to blunt the commodity’s rising prices.

Frankfurt fell 1.1 percent and Paris shed 0.9 percent.

Europe is battling an upsurge in the pandemic that saw Austria return to a partial lockdown on Monday.

Belgium and the Netherlands are still reeling from recent violent protests against new anti-Covid measures.

Germany has warned its curbs – including barring the unvaccinated from certain public spaces – are not enough.

- ‘Shock’ or ‘hammer blow’? -

“It would appear European investors are (also) in lockdown mode,” Craig Erlam, analyst at OANDA trading group, told AFP.

Austria’s lockdown “was a shock to the system but Germany – should it follow – would be a hammer blow to the recovery.

“Thankfully, a number of other countries have a far less severe situation – but as we have seen, that can quickly change at this time of year,” Erlam added.

Nevertheless, eurozone economic recovery is again gaining pace in November, according to the IHS Markit purchasing managers’ index (PMI), which measures corporate confidence.

Yet the survey also highlighted increasing inflationary pressures, with prices and wages rising more steeply.

Britain’s PMI showed a modest slowdown on rising energy and wage bills.

On Wall Street, the Dow and S&P 500 advanced while the Nasdaq slid again on worries about higher interest rates as Treasury bond yields continued to rise.

Earlier, Biden announced he had ordered the release of 50 million barrels of oil from the US strategic reserves in a coordinated attempt with other countries to tamp down soaring fuel prices.

Oil prices, which had fallen on speculation ahead of the announcement, rebounded.

The rise in prices was due to traders covering positions “amidst an expectation that OPEC+ might delay or reduce their December output hike in response,” CMC Markets UK Chief Market Analyst Michael Hewson said.

“While this is probably not the response the Biden administration was expecting, it was also entirely predictable given that it was so widely telegraphed, and it’s not something that the US can repeat,” he added.

In foreign exchange, the dollar mostly extended gains as investors bet on quicker Federal Reserve monetary tightening after boss Jerome Powell was nominated for a second term.

And the Turkish lira plunged to record lows after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stuck to his support for interest rate cuts, warning his country was in a “war of economic independence.”

- Key figures around 2230 GMT -

New York - Dow: UP 0.5 percent at 35,813.80 (close)

New York - S&P 500: UP 0.2 percent at 4,690.70 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: DOWN 0.5 percent at 15,775.14 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.1 percent at 7,266.69 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX: DOWN 1.1 percent at 15,937.00 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.8 percent at 7,044.62 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 1.3 percent at 4,283.82 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 1.2 percent at 24,651.58 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.2 percent at 3,589.09 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: Closed for a holiday

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1251 from $1.1237 at 2200 GMT

Euro/pound: UP at 84.03 pence from 83.87 pence

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3381 from $1.3397

Dollar/yen: UP at 115.11 yen from 114.88 yen

Brent North Sea crude: UP 3.3 percent at $82.31 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: UP 2.2 percent at $78.50 per barrel

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