World shares mixed following upbeat US jobs report

AP – Shares are mixed in muted trading in Europe after a day of gains in Asia, where Shanghai’s benchmark jumped two per cent.

Germany’s DAX edged 0.1 per cent to 12,621.10 and the CAC 40 in Paris was almost unchanged at 5,047.29. Britain’s FTSE also was steady, at 6,240.07. United States (US) futures barely budged, with the contract for the S&P 500 at 3,130.30. The future for the Dow industrials edged 0.1 per cent higher, to 25,787.00.

US markets closed yesterday in observance of Independence Day.

The rally in Asia followed gains on Wall Street after stronger-than-expected jobs figures were released.

The jobs data and improved global indicators are boosting sentiment, along with positive reports on potential vaccines and treatments for the coronavirus that has infected more than 10.8 million people and killed over 520,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University that experts said understates the tally due to issues with testing and asymptomatic cases.

A man walks past a stock board showing Japan’s Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo. PHOTO: AP

Such news brought a “favourable turn in the risk merry go round this week as this positive news is currently tempering the seemingly endless negative views around the rapidly-rising new daily virus cases in the US,” Stephen Innes of AxiCorp said in a commentary.

Investors also appeared to be shrugging off news of rising numbers of coronavirus patients in South Korea and Japan, where Tokyo reported 124 newly confirmed cases.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index picked up 0.7 per cent to 22,306.48, while the Shanghai Composite index gained 62.24 points to 3,152.81, its highest close since April 2019. In South Korea, the Kospi gained 0.8 per cent to 2,152.41. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.4 per cent to 6,057.90. India’s Sensex added 0.4 per cent and shares also rose in Taiwan and Southeast Asia.

Overnight, the S&P 500 rose 0.5 per cent, its fourth-straight gain, ending the holiday-shortened week with a gain of four per cent.

A recent surge in new confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Florida, Texas and several other states led some governors to halt the reopening of their economies or to order some businesses, such as restaurants, to re-close. That dimmed some of the optimism for a relatively quick economic turnaround, especially for travel-related sectors like cruise lines.

Even so, investors continue to bet that the recovery will proceed, despite the worrying rise in new cases.

The US Government said employers added 4.8 million jobs to their payrolls in June for the second-straight month of growth. The unemployment rate remains very high at 11.1 per cent, but last month’s improvement was much better than economists expected.

The pandemic makes collecting data on the economy unusually difficult, but economists said it is clear that the job market is improving after collapsing in the spring amid widespread shutdowns.

In other trading, benchmark U.S. crude oil for August delivery slipped 43 cents to USD40.22 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 83 cents on Thursday to settle at USD40.65 a barrel. Brent crude oil for September delivery dropped 41 cents to USD42.73 a barrel.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was steady at 0.67 per cent. It tends to move with investors’ expectations for the economy and inflation.

In currency dealings, the US dollar edged lower, to JPY107.49 from JPY107.50. The euro slipped to USD1.1234 from USD1.1236.