World shares mixed after retreat on Wall Street

AP – Shares were higher in Europe yesterday after a retreat in Asia, where some markets including those in Tokyo and Shanghai were closed for holidays. London was also closed for the May Day holiday.

Hong Kong and Seoul declined while Paris and Frankfurt advanced. United States (US) futures were higher.

Oil prices were mixed and the yield on the 10-year Treasury note was steady at 1.62 per cent.

Markets have mostly climbed in recent weeks as investors remain optimistic that the pandemic is slowly and steadily coming to a close, at least in the US.

Germany’s DAX climbed 0.6 per cent to 15,226.91 while the CAC 40 in Paris was 0.5 per cent higher, at 6,298.02. The futures for the S&P 500 and the Dow industrials were up 0.5 per cent.

The global recovery from the pandemic remains uneven. In much of Asia and many other countries, coronavirus caseloads have surged while vaccination levels remain low.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 1.3 per cent to 28,357.54 and the Kospi in South Korea slipped 0.7 per cent to 3,127.20. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 edged less than 0.1 per cent higher to 7,028.80.

A currency trader walks by the screen showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index at the foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea. PHOTO: AP

India’s Sensex dropped 0.7 per cent to 48,466.85. The country recorded 368,147 new coronavirus cases yesterday, including 3,417 deaths, as a catastrophic surge ripples through the country.

Shares also fell in Singapore and Taiwan.

On Friday, the S&P 500 lost 0.7 per cent to close at 4,181.17, eking out a gain of less than 0.1 per cent for the week.

Despite the decline, the benchmark index ended April with a 5.2-per-cent gain, its best month since November 2020, when US President Joe Biden was elected. It logged a gain of about 28 per cent between November and April.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.5 per cent to 33,874.85 and the Nasdaq lost 0.9 per cent to 13,962.68.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fared worse than the broader market, falling 1.3 per cent to 2,266.45.

Under Biden, the Dow notched its best first 100 days under a new president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt took office in 1933, according to LPL Financial, with a 9.9-per-cent return as of April 29. The Dow delivered a 6.1-per-cent return during former president Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office.

The gains have come as large-scale coronavirus vaccination programmes help people return to jobs and normal activity after more than a year of restrictions.

The rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations, massive support from the US government and the Federal Reserve, and increasingly positive economic data have been driving expectations for a strong rebound for the economy and robust corporate profit growth this year. That’s helped stocks push higher and kept indexes near their all-time highs.

More than half of the companies in the S&P 500 have reported their results, which show earnings growth of 54 per cent so far, according to FactSet.

In other trading, benchmark US crude oil gained two cents to USD63.60 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gave up USD1.43 on Friday to USD63.58 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, lost seven cents to USD66.69 per barrel.