Global shares mixed as virus fears cloud economic outlook

TOKYO (AP) — Global shares were mixed yesterday, as fears of further waves of coronavirus outbreaks clouded the economic outlook for the region, tempering gains.

France’s CAC 40 added 0.6 per cent to 6,678.66 in early trading, while Germany’s DAX gained nearly 0.9 per cent to 15,667.40. Britain’s FTSE 100 edged up 0.3 per cent to 7,072.39. United States (US) shares were set for gains, with the future for the Dow industrials up 0.5 per cent at 34,840.00. The S&P 500 future rose 0.4 per cent to 4,462.25.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 was little changed, inching down less than 0.1 per cent to finish at 30,240.06 after zigzagging earlier in the day. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.6 per cent to 7,384.20. South Korea’s Kospi added 0.3 per cent to 3,133.64. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng inched up 0.1 per cent to 24,208.78, while the Shanghai Composite shed 0.8 per cent to 3,582.83.

Japan’s ruling party holds an election later this week to choose a leader, who is likely to succeed Yoshihide Suga as prime minister after just one year in office. All the candidates are certain to stick to the nation’s pro-US policies, despite some nuances in their views.

They also are all promising to boost government spending to try to catalyse growth in the world’s third largest economy.

People walk past a bank’s electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index at Hong Kong Stock Exchange. PHOTO: AP

Analysts also said Japan’s central bank “tankan” economic survey for the third quarter, due out on Friday, likely will show a deterioration in business conditions because of various disruptions to supply chains and renewed outbreaks of COVID-19 in many regions.

Although some parts of the world have lifted COVID-19 restrictions and are gradually returning to “normal” life, worries remain in Asia about further waves of infections because vaccine rollouts have been slower than the West in some nations.

In Singapore, further COVID-19 restrictions kicked off in an attempt to curb the virus’ spread, as daily new cases have topped the city-state’s peak reached in April 2020.

“”Overall, the manufacturing sector may remain resilient as seen from previous phases of restrictions, but the services sector may come under pressure. That said, previous business adjustments and softer tightening compared to past restriction phases may aid to reduce some impact,” said Yeap Jun Rong, market strategist at IG in Singapore.

US markets have had a rough September and investors could be in for more volatility given various concerns, including COVID-19 and its lingering impact on the economy, along with a slow recovery for the employment market.

Worries over troubled Chinese real estate developer Evergrande are still weighing on global markets. Some Chinese banks on Friday disclosed what they are owed by Evergrande, seeking to dispel fears of financial turmoil as it struggles under USD310 billion in debt.

In energy trading, US benchmark crude added 91 cents to USD74.89 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 68 cents to USD73.98 per barrel on Friday. Brent crude, the international standard, gained 94 cents to USD79.03 a barrel.