Stocks Fight For Ground Ahead of Georgia Senate Runoff

World shares struggled on Tuesday amid new COVID lockdowns in Europe and Senate runoff races in Georgia that will affect incoming U.S. President Joe Biden’s ability to pursue his preferred economic policies.

Wall Street suffered its worst start to a year since 2016 on Monday and with volatility gauges up, the euro up and Germany expected to follow Britain with a lockdown extension, European equities were under pressure. Markets were also watching to see whether Tuesday’s Georgia run-off election enable the Democrats to flip both Senate seats and disrupt what markets view as a delicate political balance in Washington.

In Asia, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan pulled back from a record high. Australian stocks fell 0.3%. Chinese shares ended higher.

In Hong Kong, China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom rallied by more than 6% after the New York Stock Exchange suddenly abandoned plans to de-list the companies’ shares following a U.S. executive order.

Japanese shares lost 0.3% after the government said it would reach a decision on a state of emergency for Tokyo and surrounding cities on Thursday to curb record coronavirus infections.