World shares mixed as new virus cases loom amid reopenings

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BANGKOK (AP) — Shares were mostly lower in world markets on Tuesday as worries over fresh outbreaks of coronavirus cases overshadowed hopes over reopening economies.

In London, the FTSE 100 was 0.3% higher, at 5,959.62, while the CAC 40 in Paris slipped 0.1% to 4,487.16. Germany’s DAX edged 0.1% higher to 10,831.02.

The future for the S&P 500 dropped 0.2% while that for the Dow industrials also fell 0.2%.

Optimism over plans for reopening in many countries after shutdowns aimed at battling the pandemic has been tempered by reports of new waves of infections in states and countries that are further ahead in lifting lockdown measures. That includes small but disconcerting increases of new infections in South Korea, China and elsewhere.

“All said, risk appetite is on the wane today. And that merely acknowledges that re-opening economies is riddled with risks; struggling between the devil and the deep blue sea,” Hayaki Narita of Mizuho Bank said in a commentary.

China reported that auto sales fell again in April but losses narrowed in a sign the industry’s biggest global market is recovering from the coronavirus pandemic as Beijing eases anti-disease controls. Sales of SUVs, sedans and minivans in the industry’s biggest global market were down 2.6% from a year earlier at 1.5 million, said the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. That was an improvement over March’s 48.4% contraction and a nearly 82% plunge in February.

The industry group said the market is showing “obvious signs of recovery.”

But that news and reports of stronger growth in lending did little to lift sentiment. The Shanghai Composite index shed 0.1% to 2,891.56. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 1.5% to 24,245.68.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 edged 0.1% lower to 20,366.48, while South Korea’s Kospi gave up 0.7% to 1,922.17.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 1.1% to 5,403.00 after the country’s treasurer said the country faces a “sobering” economic outlook due to the effects of the coronavirus and will have its largest-ever deficit when a revised budget is released in October.

Shares also lost ground in Taiwan, Singapore and Jakarta. Bangkok gained 0.9%.

An uptick in cases in South Korea has added to concern over the potential for rebounds in new coronavirus infections in places that relax restrictions. More than 100 new cases have been reported that were linked to bars and clubs, more than half of them in the capital Seoul.

China reported only one new case on Tuesday, but that followed double-digit increases over the previous two days that set off renewed warnings to the public to not to become overconfident.

Fresh data reports this week include U.S. unemployment claims and retail sales and Australian jobs. So far, the economic indicators streaming in have been oppressively bad.

Many companies are reporting first quarter earnings, often opting to give no financial forecasts due to overwhelming uncertainty over what lies ahead. That was true of Toyota Motor Corp., whose shares fell 2% on Tuesday as it reported its net profit dropped nearly 90% in the January-March quarter from a year earlier, though it said it expected a recovery as the pandemic is brought under control.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury was steady at 0.70%.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil climbed 64 cents to $24.78 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 60 cents, or 2.4%, to settle at $24.14 a barrel on Monday. Brent crude oil, the international standard, added 45 cents to $30.08 per barrel. It dropped 4.3% to $29.63 a barrel in London.

The dollar fetched 107.53 Japanese yen, down from 107.66 late Monday. The euro rose to $1.081221 from $1.0807.