World shares mixed, futures advance after Wall St retreat

LONDON (AP) – World shares were mixed on Wednesday, with European benchmarks and U.S. futures mostly higher despite an overnight retreat on Wall Street.

Stocks rose Wednesday in London, Paris and Tokyo but fell in Frankfurt and Shanghai.

The U.K. economy officially fell into recession after official figures showed it contracting by a record 20.4% in the second quarter as a result of lockdown measures put in place to counter the pandemic.

The quarterly update was the worst since records began in 1955, the Office for National Statistics said.

Still, Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 0.7% to 6,196.71, while the CAC 40 in Paris edged 0.3% higher, to 5,042.72.

Germany’s DAX slipped 0.1 percent to 12,939.74.

Concerns over fresh waves of new coronavirus infections are gaining traction with a resurgence of cases in Germany and other European countries.

Germany has been lauded for keeping the pandemic under control for a long time, but the easing of measures and the return of travelers have in recent weeks lead to an uptick of infections.

Germany’s Robert Koch-Institute, which tracks the coronavirus, registered 1,226 new infections on Wednesday. That’s the highest number since early May.

U.S. futures advanced despite a late slide in big technology companies on Tuesday that left indexes broadly lower, breaking a seven-day winning streak for the S&P 500.

The future for the S&P 500 gained 0.7% to 3,351.70 while the contract for the Dow industrials jumped 0.9% to 27,865.00.

In Asian trading, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.4% to 22,843.96, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rebounded from early losses, surging 1.4% to 24,228.10. In South Korea, the Kospi gained 0.6% in a late comeback, closing at 2,432.35. The Shanghai Composite index lost 0.6% to 3,319.27. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 declined 0.1% to 6,132.00.

A discouraging lack of progress on talks between Congress and the White House over more economic aid for the U.S. economy has dogged trading this week, analysts said.

“When you walk back the market’s expectations of an imminent fiscal deal, it is like poking the balloon with a straight pin as all semblance of near-term optimism gets immediately deflated,” Stephen Innes of AxiCorp. said in a commentary.

Overnight’s reversal left the S&P 500 with a 0.8% loss, ending its seven-day winning streak but leaving the benchmark within 2% of the all-time high it set in February.

The stunning turnaround from a nearly 34% tumble in March, when the coronavirus pandemic sent stocks into a nosedive, shows investors gaining confidence from improved economic data and better-than-expected second-quarter corporate results.

Stocks are attractive compared with other assets thanks partly to unprecedented actions by the Federal Reserve and other central banks to stabilize markets by cutting interest rates and ramping up bond purchases.

Hopes are rising that the many pharmaceutical companies working on ways to treat COVID-19 will deliver a working vaccine in the coming months.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 0.65% from 0.57% late Monday, a big move.

The price of gold, which recently surpassed $2,000 per ounce for the first time, bounced back after dropping nearly $60 earlier in the day. It gained $3.30 to $1,949.60 per ounce.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil for September delivery gained 42 cents to $42.03 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 0.8% to settle at $41.61 per barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude oil for October delivery picked up 45 cents to $44.95 per barrel.

In currency dealings, the U.S. dollar bought 106.82 Japanese yen, up from 106.51 yen late Tuesday. The euro weakened to $1.1743 from $1.1744.