World shares slid to a two-week low on Thursday, and oil steadied after another heavy fall, as a surge in global COVID-19 cases and fractious U.S. stimulus talks kept financial markets cautious. Europe’s early equity falls were their fourth in a row, while a disappointing German consumer morale survey also meant it was the first dip of the week for the high-flying euro. The continent has seen the number of coronavirus cases surge to a record high, with Spain becoming the first Western European country to exceed 1 million infections and France, Britain and Italy all setting record increases recently. Bond market caution also ushered sensitive Italian government debt yields higher ahead of a 30-year bond sale there, as traders drifted back into uber-safe German Bunds. “In the summer we were in the eye of the storm, I think,” said Rabobank strategist Piotr Matys, likening the drop in COVID-19 cases to the lull that occurs in the middle of hurricanes. “Some governments assumed the worst was over… but now the invisible enemy is hitting even harder and I am worried about the fragile economic recovery.” Sentiment was also being buffeted after U.S. President Donald Trump accused rival Democrats on Wednesday of being unwilling to craft an acceptable compromise on fresh stimulus, following reports of progress earlier in the day. It remains unclear whether negotiations will continue ahead of the U.S. presidential and congressional elections on Nov. 3. “We still think that this deal will remain elusive in the sense that this amount that we are talking about, $1.88 trillion, that’s about 9% of GDP, said Carlos Casanova, a senior economist at Union Bancaire Privee (UBP) in Hong Kong. Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s package is even higher at around 10% of GDP.