An index of stocks across the globe fell on Thursday and the dollar rose for a fifth session running on lingering concern about another economic hit from the coronavirus pandemic.
Data showed a surprise increase in the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits, reinforcing the view that the economic recovery is in peril.
Adding to those concerns, the Federal Reserve this week has talked up the importance of a fiscal stimulus in the United States. But political focus has shifted toward the Nov. 3 presidential election and a Supreme Court nomination, which make it harder for Congress to agree on a stimulus package.
"The cloud of uncertainties continues to grow," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.
"The coronavirus is now back on the front pages and the market is now really fearing the uncertainties of the elections. As we get closer to the end of the month, the downward trend is intensifying."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 70.55 points, or 0.26%, to 26,692.58, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 1.7 points, or 0.05%, to 3,235.22 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 23.91 points, or 0.22%, to 10,656.90.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index .STOXX lost 1.15% and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe .MIWD00000PUS shed 0.68%.
Emerging market stocks lost 1.91%. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS closed 2.19% lower, while Japan's Nikkei .N225 lost 1.11%.
Flows into the dollar =USD helped it rise for a fifth straight day against a basket of peers as investors seek safety.
"Optimism on the recovery, optimism on the virus, and bets on stimulus were keeping markets well bid, and on all three of these issues there has been a degree of disappointment this month," said John Velis, an FX and macro strategist at BNY Mellon.
The dollar index =USD rose 0.179%, with the euro EUR= down 0.13% at $1.1644.
The Japanese yen weakened 0.08% versus the greenback at 105.47 per dollar, while Sterling GBP= was last trading at $1.2716, down 0.05% on the day.
Oil prices ticked lower, tracking post-settle trading the previous session, as the bullish impact of a fall in US inventories was offset by a stronger dollar and a renewed wave of coronavirus cases in Europe.
US crude CLc1 recently fell 0.25% to $39.83 per barrel and Brent LCOc1 was at $41.57, down 0.48% on the day.
US Treasury yields fell on Thursday as labor market data indicated the economic recovery may be stalling, but moved off lows after a stronger-than-expected report on the housing sector.
Benchmark 10-year notes US10YT=RR last rose 4/32 in price to yield 0.6642%, from 0.676% late on Wednesday.
In emerging markets, Turkey surprised traders with a hike in its policy rate by 200 basis points to 10.25%, sending the lira and bonds higher.