TOKYO (AP) – Global shares were mostly higher yesterday despite worries about rising numbers of coronavirus cases.
France’s CAC 40 added 0.7 per cent in early trading to 7,266.59, while Germany’s DAX edged up 0.3 per cent to 16,064.91. Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 1.2 per cent to 7,475.46.
The future contract for the Dow industrials was 0.2 per cent higher and the contract for the S&P 500 also gained 0.2 per cent.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 jumped 1.8 per cent to 29,301.79 in Tokyo’s first trading day of 2022. Shares also rose in Australia, South Korea and Hong Kong, but edged lower in Shanghai.
Toyota Motor Corp gained 6.1 per cent, while Sony Corp added 3.4 per cent.
Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki and other dignitaries rang a bell at the Tokyo Stock Exchange to herald the opening of trading.
At the smaller exchange in Osaka, in western Japan, women carried on the tradition of attending the year’s opening ceremony in colourful kimono.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was little changed, inching up less than 0.1 per cent to 23,289.84. The Shanghai Composite edged down 0.2 per cent to 3,632.33.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 jumped nearly 2.0 per cent to 7,589.80. South Korea’s Kospi gained less than one point to 2,989.24.
Asia has had fewer coronavirus infections and deaths than the United States (US) and parts of Europe. But worries are growing about an inevitable surge with reported detections of faster spreading Omicron.
On Monday, the S&P 500 rose 0.6 per cent to 4,796.56 and the Dow finished 0.7 per cent higher, at 36,585.06. Both indexes eclipsed the record highs they set last Wednesday. The Nasdaq composite rose 1.2 per cent to 15,832.80.
Smaller company stocks also rose. The Russell 2000 gained 1.2 per cent to 2,272.56.
Recent solid gains suggest investors remain bullish about stocks, despite the recent spike in COVID-19 cases from virus’ fast-spreading Omicron variant and expectations that the US Federal Reserve will begin pushing up interest rates sometime this year to fight rising inflation.
In energy trading, benchmark US crude gained 32 cents to USD76.40 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 87 cents to USD76.08 per barrel on Monday. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 30 cents to USD79.28 a barrel.
In currency trading, the US dollar rose to JPY115.84 from JPY115.31 yen. The euro cost EUR1.1298, up from EUR1.1296.