European shares gain as economies inch toward reopening


TOKYO (AP) — Shares opened higher in Europe on Tuesday after a mixed session in Asia as governments inch toward letting businesses reopen and central banks step in with still more support for ailing economies.

Oil prices extended losses.

France’s CAC 40 gained 0.4% in early trading to 4,523.64, while Germany’s DAX rose 0.6% to 10,725.68. Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 0.5% to 5,875.91.

U.S. shares were set to drift higher with Dow futures adding 0.4% to 24,098.0. S&P 500 futures gained 0.2% to 2,875.12.

From Rome, Georgia, to Rome, Italy, companies are watching as politicians detail plans to ease up on restrictions that were meant to slow the coronavirus pandemic but also have erased businesses and jobs.

With central banks and governments promising overwhelming amounts of aid for markets, some investors are focusing on the potential return of growth as the outbreak levels off in some areas.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 surged Monday after the central bank lifted its ceiling on purchases of government bonds and other assets that it uses to pump more cash into the economy. It edged 0.1% lower Tuesday, to 19,771.19.

“I can see that yesterday’s Bank of Japan ‘Whatever it takes’ announcement could be viewed positively by investors in risk assets. That basically makes it all the big central banks,” said Robert Carnell, regional head of research, Asia Pacific, at ING, of the Bank of Japan’s monetary easing Monday.

“Basically, the monetary spigots are wide open.”

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.6% after fluctuating much of the day, to 1,934.09. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.2% to 5,313.10. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 1.2% to 24,575.96, while the Shanghai Composite fell 0.2% to 2,810.02.

Worries remain about fresh surges of coronavirus cases in places like China and South Korea, where they had declined as a result of social distancing, testing and arduous efforts by medical workers.

Japan’s government is warning against travel during the Golden Week holidays, which start this week and extend into early May, the biggest holiday for the nation after the New Year’s holidays.

There is no lockdown in Japan but the government has declared a state of emergency, requesting that people stay home. That lasts through Golden Week, but it may be extended.

Nissan Motor Co. announced Tuesday that it expects to log a net loss of up to 95 billion yen ($880 million) for the full fiscal year that ended in March, much lower than its earlier estimate for a 65 billion yen net profit. The company also pushed back its report for full year earnings to May 28 from mid-May.

Meetings of several of the world’s largest central banks and a slew of corporate earnings announcements are lined up for this week.

Nearly a third of the companies in the S&P 500 are scheduled to report how profitable, or otherwise, they were in the first three months of 2020 and, more importantly, perhaps talk about how they see future conditions shaking out. That includes the Big Five of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Google’s parent, Alphabet, which together make up about a fifth of the index.

In the U.S., the reopening of some businesses in Georgia and other states and a slowdown in hospitalizations in New York, the hardest-hit state, have helped revive financial stocks.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude dropped $2.59 to $10.19 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell $4.16, or 24.6%, to $12.78 a barrel on Monday. Brent crude, the international standard, fell 79 cents to $19.20 a barrel.

Prices have been swinging wildly as demand for energy collapses and storage tanks come close to topping out.

The dollar slipped to 106.69 Japanese yen from 107.20 yen. The euro gained to $1.0877 from $1.0829.