GLOBAL MARKETS-Stock markets operate nervous due to Delta variant and Fed policy

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by Tom Arnold

LONDON, Jun 29 (Reuters) – Global stocks fell slightly from record highs on Tuesday amid concerns about new coronavirus outbreaks in Asia that could slow the economic recovery, as investors remain nervous about the future end of the policy expansive in the United States.

* The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.6%, helped by a boost in industrial, financial and mining stocks, sectors that will benefit from economic improvements. Optimism around a stable recovery has put the European benchmark on track for its fifth consecutive month of gains.

* The German DAX added 1%, further improving after data showing an easing of annual consumer price inflation in June in Germany. The 2.1% reading remained above the European Central Bank target closely but below 2%.

* Investors are on the lookout for inflation figures and what they may mean for continued stimulus from central banks.

* MSCI’s broader index of Asia Pacific equities excluding Japan plunged 0.6% as recent positive momentum stalled after some countries reimposed restrictions to contain the spread of the Delta variant of the virus.

* Japan’s Nikkei lost 0.8% and Chinese stocks fell 0.92% as investors took profits after a rally driven by the country’s strong rebound from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

* US stocks opened slightly higher on Wall Street, while the MSCI World Stock Index, which includes stocks from 50 countries, was down 0.1%, off the record highs hit the day before.

* Fears of the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant are weighing on sentiment at a time when markets are on edge after the Federal Reserve surprised traders with a tighter swing this month.

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