Global stocks follow Wall Street higher after tech gains

BEIJING (AP) — Global stock markets followed Wall Street higher yesterday after further gains for major United States (US) tech stocks.

London and Frankfurt gained at the opening while Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong and Australia closed higher.

US stocks recovered most of this year’s losses, helping to push up global prices, despite rising numbers of American coronavirus infections that threaten to derail economic improvement.

Investors are buying technology and other companies they expect to emerge stronger from the global downturn.

On Wednesday, Wall Street turned in its sixth gain in seven days when the benchmark S&P 500 index closed up 0.8 per cent. Amazon, Apple and Microsoft accounted for half that rise.

“The uptick in sentiment seems unrelated to any specific news,” Stephen Innes of AxiCorp said in a report.

A currency trader talks on the mobile phone at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea. PHOTO: AP

In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London added 0.1 per cent to 6,149.26 and the DAX in Frankfurt jumped 1.4 per cent to 12,664.80. The CAC 40 in Paris advanced 0.3 per cent to 4,997.24.

On Wall Street, futures for the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were off 0.1 per cent.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.4 per cent to 3,450.59 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo added 0.4 per cent to 22,529.29.

In a sign of Chinese investor enthusiasm, a maker of communications security technology, QuantumCTek Co Ltd, rose 924 per cent on its first day of trading on the Shanghai exchange’s board for tech companies.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng gained 0.3 per cent to 26,210.16 despite US-Chinese tensions over a security law imposed on the territory.

The Kospi in Seoul was 0.4 per cent higher at 2,167.90 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 advanced 0.6 per cent to 5,955.50. New Zealand, Singapore and Bangkok retreated while Jakarta rose.

On Wednesday, the Dow rose 0.7 per cent while the Nasdaq composite gained 1.4 per cent.

Optimism is rising about a reopening US economy, but virus case numbers are rising across much of the South and West. Some state governments have reversed plans to allow restaurants and other businesses to re-open.

Amazon added 2.7 per cent, Apple rose 2.3 per cent and Microsoft gained 2.2 per cent.

Major companies are due to report quarterly results next week. They are expected to be dismal.

Benchmark US crude lost 15 cents to USD40.75 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 28 cents on Wednesday to settle at USD40.90. Brent crude, the international price benchmark, shed seven cents to USD43.22 per barrel in London. It added 21 cents the previous session to USD43.29.

The dollar declined to JPY107.26 from Wednesday’s JPY107.31. The euro was little-changed at USD1.1360.