Global shares up as recovery hopes overshadow virus worries

A woman walks past an electronic board showing world currency exchange rates at a securities firm in Tokyo Monday, March 2, 2020. Share prices have charged back from their retreat last week, with mainland Chinese indexes gaining 3% as data showed progress in restoring factory output after weeks of disruptions from the viral outbreak. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

TOKYO (AP) — Global shares rose Tuesday as hopes for economic recovery overshadowed worries over the coronavirus pandemic.

Investors are shifting their focus to how various nations are adapting to getting back to business, while striving to keep new COVID-19 cases in check.

France’s CAC 40 jumped 1.4% in early trading to 4,605.07, while Germany’s DAX gained 0.7% to 11,474.88. The FTSE 100 in Britain, which was closed for trading Monday, surged 1.9% to 6,107.96.

U.S. shares were set for gains, with the future for the Dow industrials adding 2.0% to 24922. The future for the S&P 500 jumped 1.8% to 3,007.38.

Government assessments of commuter train usage showed traffic was still much less than normal on Tuesday after Japan lifted its pandemic state of emergency for Tokyo and several other areas. The relaxed precautions are meant to involve what Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has dubbed a “new lifestyle,” with widespread wearing of masks and face shields.

Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei 225 jumped 2.6% to finish at 21,277.77, in a rebound to levels for the index not touched since early March. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 surged nearly 3.0% to 5,780.00. South Korea’s Kospi gained 1.8% to 2,029.78. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 1.9% to 23,384.66, while the Shanghai Composite advanced 1.0% to 2,846.55.

“As is the financial market’s wont these days … even the slimmest of positive news on the COVID-19 front triggers a bullish immune response and another wave of the peak-virus trade,” Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary.

Comments from China’s central bank governor on support for its slowing economy also lifted sentiment.

Yi Gang, in an interview on the bank’s website, promised to push down borrowing costs for entrepreneurs and “support development of the real economy.”

He said the People’s Bank of China will pursue a “more flexible” monetary policy in line with official goals announced Friday by Premier Li Keqiang of helping smaller and private companies survive the coronavirus pandemic.

The interview was published as China’s largely ceremonial National People’s Congress holds its annual session, where other senior officials have stressed the need to push growth higher and create jobs, while steering clear of excess government spending.

As U.S. markets reopen from the Memorial Day holiday, traders are awaiting U.S. consumer confidence data for May and home sales for April, indicators that might give further clues into the severity of the downturn brought on by the pandemic.

Benchmark U.S. crude gained 99 cents to $34.24 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It closed at $33.25 on Friday, and markets were closed on Monday.

Brent crude oil, the international standard, rose 61 cents to $36.14 a barrel.

The U.S. dollar rose to 107.84 Japanese yen from 107.69 yen late Monday. The euro rose to $1.0940 from $1.0898.

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