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World shares mixed after Wall Street gain as markets eye Ukraine

BEIJING (AP) – Global stock markets were mixed yesterday after Wall Street’s biggest weekly gain in 16 months as investors watched efforts to negotiate an end to Russia’s war on Ukraine.

Oil prices gained over USD4 per barrel.

London, Paris and Shanghai gained while Hong Kong and Seoul slipped. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday.

Wall Street futures were lower after the benchmark S&P 500 index rose on Friday as markets appeared to welcome the Federal Reserve’s attempt to fight surging inflation by raising its key interest rate.

Investors watched efforts to mediate a settlement to Russia’s attack, which pushed up oil prices and added to uncertainty about the global economic outlook.

“It appears that there is a 50-50 chance of continuing with the pick-up in market sentiments,” Tan Boon Heng of Mizuho Bank said in a report.

In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London rose 0.3 per cent to 7,425.08. The DAX in Frankfurt gained 0.2 per cent to 14,434.00. The CAC 40 in Paris was little-changed at 6,619.12.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 future was off 0.1 per cent and that for the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.2 per cent.

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

On Friday, the S&P 500 gained 1.2 per cent, adding to a streak that included two days of two per cent gains. The Dow advanced 0.8 per cent and the Nasdaq composite added two per cent. The three indexes had their best week since November 2020.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index gained less than 0.1 per cent to 3,253.69.

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong fell 0.9 per cent to 21,221.34. Hong Kong-traded shares in China Eastern Airlines, a major mainland China-based carrier, sank 6.5 per cent shortly before the market closed after state media reported that a flight with 132 people aboard had crashed into mountain in southern China, setting off a hill fire. The Civil Aviation Administration of China confirmed the crash. There was no immediate word on casualties.

The Kospi in Seoul lost 0.8 per cent to 2,686.05 after the government reported exports in the first 20 days of March were up 10.1 per cent from a year earlier. Semiconductor exports rose 30.8 per cent while autos fell 18.1 per cent due to supply bottlenecks.

The figures “hinted at a continuation of the global recovery but also pointed to downside risks from global supply chain disruptions”, said Min Koo Kang of ING in a report.

Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 declined 0.2 per cent to 7,278.50 and India’s Sensex retreated 0.8 per cent to 57,409.90.

New Zealand, Singapore and Jakarta gained while Bangkok retreated.

Russia’s attack added to investor unease about the Fed and other central banks withdrawing stimulus that has pushed up share prices.

Last week, Fed Chair Jerome Powell expressed confidence the economy is strong enough to withstand higher interest rates.

On Sunday, Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said Ukraine and Russia are close to an agreement on “fundamental issues” after he travelled to both countries to meet his counterparts.

Cavusoglu said in return for its neutrality, Ukraine wants Turkey, Germany and the five permanent members of the United Nations (UN) Security Council to act as guarantors.

Also yesterday, Disney Co closed its Shanghai theme park as the city tried to control its biggest coronavirus flareup in two years. The southern business centre of Shenzhen allowed shops and offices to reopen after a weeklong closure.

China’s case numbers in its latest infection wave are low compared with other major countries, but authorities are enforcing a “zero tolerance” strategy that suspended access to some major cities

In energy markets, benchmark United States (US) crude rose USD4.50 to USD107.59 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trading, gained USD4.32 to USD112.25 per barrel in London.

The dollar rose to JPY119.25 from Friday’s JPY119.13. The euro retreated to USD1.1042 from USD1.1047.