Global stocks follow Wall Street lower amid virus worries

BEIJING (AP) – Global stocks and United States (US) futures declined yesterday as surging coronavirus infections in the US and some other countries tempered investor optimism over development of possible vaccines.

Markets in London, Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong declined. Frankfurt and Paris were little changed. Investor worries have risen as some US states and European countries reimpose anti-virus curbs on travel and business, threatening to drag down shaky economic activity in what is expected to be a bleak winter.

“‘Too much, too soon’ was arguably the memo sent to market bulls,” Mizuho Bank said in a report. The surge in new US cases “begs the question of whether vaccine euphoria was getting ahead of outbreak realities.”

In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London shed 0.3 per cent to 6,535.45 while the DAX in Frankfurt was unchanged at 13,271.45. The CAC 40 in Paris shed less than 0.1 per cent to 5,569.41.

On Wall Street, futures for the benchmark S&P 500 index and Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 0.3 per cent.

On Monday, the S&P lost 0.2 per cent as healthcare, financial and energy stocks declined. The Dow slid 0.5 per cent while the Nasdaq composite gained 0.4 per cent.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.2 per cent to 3,410.18 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo shed 0.3 per cent to 26,467.08.

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong sank 0.8 per cent to 26,304.56. Shares in China’s biggest online health platform, JD Health, rose 56 per cent in their trading debut in Hong Kong, reflecting investor enthusiasm for the fledgling industry as the country emerges from the coronavirus pandemic.

In Seoul, the Kospi tumbled 1.6 per cent to 2,700.93 while Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 advanced 0.2 per cent to 6,687.70.

India’s Sensex opened up 0.5 per cent at 45,646.51. New Zealand and Southeast Asian markets gained.

The S&P 500 had one of its best months in decades in November and added more to it last week.

Traders also are watching to see whether US political leaders can agree on a new aid plan for the struggling economy after supplemental unemployment benefits that supported consumer spending expired.

On Monday, the US reported 175,663 new virus cases and 1,113 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

In energy markets, benchmark US crude lost 22 cents to USD45.54 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 50 cents on Monday to USD45.76. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 25 cents to USD48.54 per barrel in London. It declined 46 cents the previous session to USD48.79.

The dollar advanced to 104.07 yen from Monday’s JPY103.98. The euro edged down to USD1.2117 from USD1.2120.