Stocks slumped around the world as investors rushed into haven assets after the delta coronavirus variant cast a pall over the economic recovery, while tension between the U.S. and China escalated.
In a reversal of the reopening trade that has powered this year’s equity rally, cyclical companies bore the brunt of Monday’s rout. Commodity, financial and industrial shares led losses in the S&P 500, which fell the most since May. Airlines and cruise operators tumbled amid concern over further travel restrictions. After recently plunging to pre-pandemic levels, the Cboe Volatility Index, or VIX, soared. European stocks had their biggest drop of 2021, following a selloff in Asia.
With the risk-off sentiment spreading across global markets, Treasury 10-year yields spiraled to their lowest since February, while the dollar rose alongside the yen and the Swiss franc. Despite the classic safety trade, gold retreated. Oil sank after OPEC+ agreed to boost supply into 2022. Meantime, Bitcoin’s slide pushed the world’s largest digital currency closer to $30,000.