Global Stock Markets Mixed After Wall Street High, Virus Surge


BEIJING—Global stock markets were mixed Thursday after Wall Street hit a high and new daily U.S. coronavirus cases surged to a record.

London and Frankfurt opened lower and Tokyo and Seoul also declined. Shanghai and Hong Kong advanced.

Wall Street futures were higher after the benchmark S&P 500 index on Wednesday hit its 70th record high of 2021.

Optimism was tempered by data showing new U.S. virus cases have risen to an average of 265,000 per day, driven largely by the more contagious omicron variant.

Markets are “hanging onto thin optimism” while health care resources do a “balancing act,” Tan Boon Heng of Mizuho Bank said in a report.

In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London lost 0.1 percent to 7,411.22 and Frankfurt’s DAX shed less than 0.1 percent to 15,844.18. The CAC 40 in Paris advanced less than 0.1 percent to 7,163.96.

On Wall Street, the futures for S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up less than 0.1 percent.

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 rose 0.1 percent and the Dow added 0.2 percent. The Nasdaq composite slipped 0.1 percent.

The S&P 500 is on track for a gain of more than 27 percent in 2021.

The benchmark, which also set records on Monday and on Dec. 23, hit more new highs in 2021 than in any year since the 77 in 1954. The Dow set a record in early November.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.6 percent to 3,619./19.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo shed 0.4 percent to 28,791.71 while Hang Seng in Hong Kong advanced 0.1 percent to 23,112.01.

The Kospi in Seoul declined 0.5 percent to 2,977.65 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 added less than 0.1 percent to 7,513.40.

India’s Sensex gained 0.1 percent to 57,887.26. New Zealand and Bangkok gained while Singapore and Jakarta retreated.

Investors have been encouraged by stronger corporate profits.

That has been tempered by the Federal Reserve’s decision to try to cool U.S. inflation, which is at a nearly four-decade high, by rolling back stimulus that has boosted stock prices.

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 was lifted by gains in health care, technology, and consumer-oriented stocks.

Investor concerns about the omicron variant eased after researchers said it appears to cause less severe symptoms and President Joe Biden avoided announcing travel or other restrictions that might weigh on economic activity.

Still, markets are uncertain about the impact of omicron, which is spreading fast and quickly becoming the dominant variant.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude lost 13 cents to $76.43 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract advanced 58 cents to $76.56 on Wednesday. Brent crude, the price basis for international oils, gained 16 cents to $79.05 per barrel in London. It closed 29 cents higher than the previous session at $79.23.

The dollar rose to 115.14 yen from Wednesday’s 114.97 yen. The euro declined to $1.1307 from $1.1344.

By Joe Mcdonald

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