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“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” – Henry Ford

After the near-complete shutdown last year and the gradual re-opening of the economy in fits and starts around the world since then, most people probably thought we would never return to the days of lockdowns again, but Austria and other parts of Europe are changing that mindset this morning.  In Austria, two regions of the country are locking down beginning on Monday by closing non-essential businesses and schools for a month.  Whether these lockdowns extend to the entire country remains to be seen.  Outside of Austria, parts of Germany have also announced that bars and restaurants will be temporarily closed in an effort to halt the spread.  With case counts rising in other parts of Europe as well, a spread of these restrictions to other parts of Europe can’t be ruled out.

Not surprisingly, the new restrictions on activity being placed in Europe have put pressure modest pressure on equities in the region and here in the US this morning while treasury yields decline and crude oil is down sharply falling to its lowest level since October 1st.  The weakness in equities this morning isn’t all one-sided, though.  Re-opening stocks are under pretty significant pressure and the Russell 2000 is down over 1%, while ‘work from home stocks’ have been catching a bid with the Nasdaq indicated to open higher.

Read today’s Morning Lineup for a recap of all the major market news and events from around the world, including the latest US and international COVID trends.

The charts below are what have government officials in Europe and investors around the world on edge.  Starting with Germany but spreading to other countries, COVID case numbers across major European economies have been surging in recent weeks. As shown in the chart at left, case numbers in Europe as a whole have been surging and are now well back above levels (per million people) in the US (where case levels have also started a new leg higher).  Within the European continent (right chart), Germany has been leading the way higher in terms of total new case counts which are actually at a new high for that country, but if you look a little closer at the chart, you can also see that case numbers in France, Italy, Spain, and Sweden have also started to trend higher.

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