Global shares mostly higher on hopes for US stimulus

TOKYO (AP) — Global shares were mostly higher yesterday on optimism that the United States (US) stimulus may be coming after all, as US President Donald Trump appeared to reverse his earlier decision to halt talks on another economic rescue effort.

France’s CAC 40 edged 0.2 per cent higher in early trading, to 4,893.59. Germany’s DAX gained 0.4 per cent to 12,984.13. Britain’s FTSE 100 added less than 0.1 per cent to 5,947.78. US shares were set for gains, with the future contract for the Dow industrials up 0.4 per cent at 28,230.0. S&P 500 futures were also up 0.4 per cent, at 3,420.62.

Considerable uncertainty remains, given the “rollercoaster” swings in investor mood in response to signs from Trump about the stimulus, said Riki Ogawa of Mizuho Bank in Singapore. “The on-and-off nature of the fiscal stimulus discussion in the US hardly inspires lasting confidence,” Ogawa said in a report, noting such uncertainty will continue through the presidential election campaign, and perhaps even after the vote.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 added nearly 1.0 per cent to finish at 23,647.07. South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.2 per cent to 2,391.96. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 jumped 1.1 per cent to 6,102.00. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.2 per cent to 24,193.35. Trading was closed in Shanghai for a holiday.

Analysts said the US election is the one global event market players view as influencing critical policy. In the meantime, there is consensus among many economists and investors that the economy needs another dose of support following the expiration of weekly jobless benefits and other stimulus Congress approved earlier this year. And so the market’s attention remains fixed on the prospects for more stimulus for the economy from Washington.

A man walks under a screen at the Korea Exchange in Seoul, South Korea. PHOTO: AP

However, the pandemic also looms, with concern growing over flaring outbreaks of the coronavirus in Europe, the US and elsewhere.

Germany is seeing a sharp jump in new coronavirus infections, raising fears the pandemic is gaining in a country that so far has coped better than many of its European neighbours.

The British government is mulling fresh restrictions on everyday life in England amid mounting evidence that the measures so far have done little to keep a lid on new infections. Caseloads have been surging in places as far flung as Slovakia, Croatia and Sri Lanka, with colder weather and the flu season setting in throughout the Northern Hemisphere.

In energy trading, benchmark US crude added USD0.49 to USD40.44 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gave up USD0.72 to USD39.95 per barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude, the international standard, gained USD0.57 to USD42.56 a barrel.

The US dollar stood unchanged at JPY105.98. The euro cost USD1.1765, up slightly from USD1.1762.