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World shares mostly lower as recession, COVID fears loom




A Saudi man walks at the Tadawul Saudi Stock Exchange, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Monday, June 15, 2015. Saudi Arabia's stock market, valued at $585 billion, opened up to direct foreign investment for the first time Monday, as the kingdom seeks an economic boost amid low global oil prices. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

TOKYO (AP) — Shares have opened lower in Europe after most Asian markets also fell, haunted by worries over the threat of recession and coronavirus outbreaks.

U.S. futures and oil prices declined, while Japan’s benchmark rallied after the ruling Liberal Democratic Party garnered a landslide parliamentary election victory.

The euro sagged closer to parity against the U.S. dollar, briefly dipping to $1.0109, but then rose back to near $1.0120. Europe’s shared currency is at its lowest level in 20 years against the U.S. dollar, hit by worries over possible recession and the surge in the greenback as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates to combat inflation.

Early Monday, the euro cost $1.0118, down from $1.0182 late Friday. The U.S. dollar rose to 137.00 Japanese yen from 136.10 yen.

Germany’s DAX fell 1% to 12,886.28 as the shut-down of a major gas pipeline from Russia to Germany for annual maintenance brought concern Russia might not resume the flow of gas as scheduled.

In Paris, the CAC 40 declined 1.1% to 5,967.23, while Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 0.8% to 7,142.11. On Wall Street, the futures for the S&P 500 and the Dow industrials were 0.6% lower.

On Friday, the S&P 500 dropped 0.1% and the Dow also fell 0.1%, while the Nasdaq rose 0.1%. The Russell 2000 index of small company stocks slipped less than 0.1%.

Asian shares were mostly lower on Monday, though Japan’s benchmark Nikkei jumped 1.1% to 26,812.30.

Japan’s governing party and its coalition partner scored a major victory in balloting Sunday, which came two days after the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Abe was shot by a man emerging from the crowd listening to his campaign speech, took out a homemade gun and fired.

The attack shocked a nation that rarely sees gun violence. The Liberal Democratic Party was bound for victory even before the assassination, but some analysts said the shock of Abe’s death was likely to strengthen that trend.

With its partner Komeito party, the ruling coalition raised its combined share in the 248-seat upper house to 146. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida almost certainly stands to rule without interruption until a scheduled election in 2025, ensuring that the pro-U.S. defense and diplomatic policies of the late Abe and the Liberal Democrats will continue unchanged.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 declined 1.1% to 6,602.20. South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.4% to 2,340.27.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 2.8% to 21,124.20, while the Shanghai Composite fell 1.3% to 3,313.58.

Technology shares fell after market regulators in China fined companies for not reporting past transactions as required. E-commerce giant Alibaba tumbled 6.8% while Tencent Holdings lost 3.2%.

Wall Street had a sputtering finish last week, as global markets turned their attention to Chinese economic indicators and moves by central banks, including the U.S. Federal Reserve, to contain stubbornly growing inflation.

“A recession is not the market’s base outlook, but until proven otherwise, investors will debate the depth of the growth hit, not the likelihood of recession; thus, good economic data is good news for stocks,” Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management said in a commentary.

China reports its April-June growth data on Friday, and an update on U.S. inflation is due Wednesday. Investors also are watching for upcoming corporate earnings reports, which will give investors insight into how inflation is impacting businesses and consumers.

In energy trading, U.S. benchmark crude lost $1.34 to $103.45 a barrel. It gained $2.06 to $104.79 a barrel on Friday.

Brent crude, the international standard, fell 71 cents to $106.31 a barrel.

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