Global stocks mostly rise after lackluster day on Wall Street

TOKYO (AP) — Global shares were mostly higher yesterday as optimism over progress on coronavirus vaccinations offset worries over flaring outbreaks in many countries.

France’s CAC 40 edged 0.3 per cent higher in early trading to 6,150.27. Germany’s DAX added 0.1 per cent to 15,227.91. Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 0.9 per cent to 6,885.98. United States (US) shares were set for gains, with the future for the Dow industrials up nearly 0.1 per cent at 33,341.50. S&P 500 futures gained 0.1 per cent to 4,067.88.

US President Joe Biden said on Tuesday he was bumping up his deadline for states by two weeks, to April 19, to make all adults in the US eligible for coronavirus vaccines, reflecting steady progress in the US.

Optimism about a global economic rebound from the pandemic is growing, but Venkateswaran Lavanya at Mizuho Bank’s Asia and Oceania Treasury Department noted some nations were lagging in a “divergent recovery”.

“To be sure, the aggregated growth assessment is upbeat. Global GDP contraction for 2020, at 3.3 per cent, was not as bad as the 4.4 per cent drop expected earlier,” Lavanya said, referring to gross domestic product.

Men wearing protective masks walk in front of an electronic stock board showing Japan’s Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo. PHOTO: AP

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said it expects global economic growth to accelerate this year as vaccine distribution ramps up and the world rebounds. The 190-country lending agency said it expects the world economy to expand six per cent in 2021, up from the 5.5 per cent it had forecast in January.

That would be the fastest expansion in IMF records dating back to 1980.

In Asian trading, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 edged 0.1 per cent higher to 29,730.79 and the Shanghai Composite index sank 0.1 per cent to 3,479.63. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.6 per cent to 6,928.00. South Korea’s Kospi added 0.3 per cent to 3,137.41. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 1.1 per cent to 28,623.28.

Trading in Toshiba Corp’s shares was halted after the Tokyo-based technology conglomerate confirmed it had received a preliminary acquisition proposal.

Toshiba Corp said it was seeking more details on the proposal, giving it “careful consideration” and would make an announcement “in due course”. The Japanese financial newspaper Nikkei reported that CVC Capital Partners was looking into acquiring the company for JPY2 trillion.

CVC is an international private equity and credit company that has committed nearly USD162 billion in funds, managing more than 300 investors. It declined to comment.