By Yuri Kageyama
TOKYO (AP) — Global stock markets were subdued Wednesday as investors weighed hopes for a recovery as economies gradually reopen against worries over the havoc wreaked by the pandemic.
Experts also raised doubts over a potential vaccine being developed by Massachusetts-based Moderna Inc. that on Tuesday had driven Wall Street’s biggest rally in more than five weeks. Scientists noted that data from early clinical trials of the vaccine were too limited to yield any conclusive results.
“Doubts cast over the Moderna vaccine trial results knock out one leg from under the market rally,” Jasper Lawler of London Capital Group said in a commentary. “Investors are trying to bake in a scenario where economies reopen and a vaccine is available in time to prevent a second wave. But there are still many unknowns.”
France’s CAC 40 lost 0.5% to 4,435, while Germany’s DAX was up 0.2% at 11,097. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose nearly 0.2% to 6,011. U.S. shares were set for gains, with the futures for the Dow industrials and the S&P 500 both up 1%.
Shares mostly closed higher in Asia. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 0.8% to finish at 20,595.15 on expectations that a state of emergency still in effect for Tokyo and seven other cities and prefectures may soon end. South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.5% to 1,989.64. and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.2% to 5,573.00. But Hong Kong’s Hang Seng inched up less than 0.1% to 24,399.95. The Shanghai Composite fell 0.5% to 2,883.74.
India’s Sensex jumped 1.9% and shares were higher in Taiwan but fell in Singapore and Indonesia.
Japan’s state of emergency, which asked people to stay home but was not a lockdown, was recently lifted in the rest of the nation, with social distancing restrictions.
Yoshimasa Maruyama, chief economist at SMBC Nikko Securities, said the lifting of the emergency could come as soon as later this month. But the hardest hit sectors, such as tourism and restaurants, are unlikely to recover for some time, he said.
“It remains unclear whether there will be another surge in coronavirus cases, but if medical care systems can be maintained, a gradual return to normal economic activity can also be expected,” he said.
Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 44 cents to $32.40 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 31 cents to $31.96 on Tuesday. Brent crude oil, the international standard, rose 71 cents to $35.3 a barrel.
Prices have firmed up as oil producing nations cut back on output and as the gradual reopening of the economies around the globe helps spur demand, which crashed earlier this year due to widespread travel and business shutdowns related to the coronavirus. Crude oil started the year at about $60 a barrel.
The dollar cost 107.55 Japanese yen, down slightly from 107.71 yen on Tuesday. The euro rose to $1.0953 from $1.0926.
Source: AP News