Global stocks rise ahead of US data amid virus unease

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stocks and Wall Street futures rose Monday as investors looked ahead to quarterly U.S. economic data amid unease about anti-coronavirus restrictions and wrangling over the American presidential election.

London, Shanghai, Frankfurt and Hong Kong advanced. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday.

Investors awaited U.S. economic growth data due out Wednesday after Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index ended last week down as rising infection numbers collided with hopes for a possible vaccine. Also Wednesday, the U.S. Federal Reserve is to report on its latest meeting, though no surprises are expected.

Investors have been rattled by decisions to reimpose anti-virus controls in the United States, Europe and some Asian countries that threaten to hamper retail spending, travel and other business activity.

“In the short term, the negative news may well win out,” Patrik Schowitz of J.P. Morgan Asset Management said in a report. He noted U.S. data are “beginning to wobble a bit.”

In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London rose 0.4% to 6,378.47 and the DAX in Frankfurt added 1% to 13,266.93. The CAC 40 in Paris gained 0.8% to 5,538.19.

On Wall Street, the future for the benchmark S&P 500 index was up 0.7%. That for the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.8% higher.

On Friday, the S&P 500 and the Dow both lost 0.7%. The Nasdaq composite dropped 0.4%.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.1% to 3,414.49 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong was 0.1% higher at 26,486.20.

The Kospi in Seoul jumped 1.9% to 2,602.59 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 added 0.3% to 6,561.60.

India’s Sensex advanced 0.5% to 44,112.67. New Zealand and Southeast Asian markets also gained.

Investor enthusiasm surged on announcements by pharmaceutical companies of promising preliminary data from tests of possible vaccines. Those hopes have been tempered by the reality of the weeks or months required to test, produce and distribute a possible vaccine even if it is successful.

On Thursday, the governor of California, the most populous U.S. state, announced an overnight curfew for most residents.

Also last week, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin rattled markets by withdrawing emergency loan programs for small businesses. Congress is deadlocked on an aid plan to replace supplemental unemployment benefits that supported consumer spending and expired months ago.

Investors have been encouraged by court decisions rejecting some of President Donald Trump’s challenges of results of the Nov. 3 election. Trump has fueled market jitters by refusing to concede or to brief Joe Biden’s team on national security and anti-virus work.

“The election was not stolen. But a smoother and stronger recovery may be,” Mizuho Bank said in a report. It said blocking Biden’s transition team from briefings “means that precious time is stolen from tackling a resurgent health crisis that will extract an economic toll.”

Mnuchin’s decision to withdraw emergency loan money, over the Fed’s opposition, undercut the central bank’s ability to support a recovery, Mizuho Bank said.

“The Fed’s policy has been unnecessarily and prematurely denied the Treasury’s backing,” the bank said.

Also Monday, Singapore revised up its third-quarter economic change to a contraction of 5.8% over a year earlier, an improvement from the previous estimate of a 7% drop.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose 81 cents to $43.23 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added $1.01 to $45.97 per barrel in London.

The dollar declined to 103.78 yen from Friday’s 103.84 yen. The euro gained to $1.1881 from $1.1858.