World shares, Wall St futures lower ahead of US jobs report

A man wearing a protective mask walks in front of an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021, in Tokyo. Asian stock markets were mixed Wednesday after Wall Street rose for a fifth day on strong corporate earnings. Shanghai and Seoul, South Korea, fell while Tokyo and Hong Kong advanced. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
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TOKYO (AP) — Shares opened lower in Europe on Friday after a downbeat day in Asia, where Chinese benchmarks sagged under revived concerns over property developers.

Benchmarks fell in London, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai but rose in Paris and Sydney.

Investors were watching for employment figures and further updates on corporate earnings.

The Labor Department reported on Thursday that the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell to another pandemic low last week, another sign the job market is healing after last year’s coronavirus recession. The agency will release its more detailed jobs report for October on Friday.

Germany’s DAX edged 0.1% lower to 16,018.28, while the CAC 40 in Paris gained 0.2% to 6,996.08. Britain’s FTSE 100 fell less than 0.1% to 7,277.14. The futures for the Dow industrials and the S&P 500 were 0.1% lower.

On Thursday, the benchmark S&P 500 rose 0.4%, extending its winning streak to a sixth day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 0.1% lower, while the Nasdaq added 0.8%. The Russell 2000 index of small company stocks slipped 0.1%.

Jitters over troubles in China’s property sector flared after Kaisa Group, a developer, announced that Hong Kong-traded shares in its listed companies were suspended after it failed make payments on wealth products it had guaranteed.

Tightened controls on borrowing by highly leveraged real estate companies have been rattling markets after one of the biggest, Evergrande Group, failed to make payments on some of its $300 billion in debt. Evergrande faces further payment deadlines on Saturday.

The Chinese government has also been ramping up controls on wealth management.

In Asian trading Friday, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dropped 1.5% to 24,859.00, while the Shanghai Composite index lost 1% to 3,491.57.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index shed 0.6% to 29, 611.57, while South Korea’s Kospi declined 0.5% to 2,960.27. In Sydney, the S&P/ASX 500 gained 0.4% to 7,456.90.

Japanese automaker Honda lowered its profit and vehicle sales forecasts for the fiscal year, pointing Friday to shortages of computer chips and rising material costs.

The shortage in computer chips needed to make the Nintendo Switch machine is a serious problem unlikely to be resolved soon, the president of the Japanese video-game maker said Friday.

“The extremely tight situation remains, and the future is uncertain,” Shuntaro Furukawa told reporters.

Such supply chain problems and their impact on corporate profits and operations have been a key concern for investors amid the latest round of earnings.

Benchmark U.S. crude prices picked up $1.24 cents to $80.05 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange after OPEC and allied oil-producing countries decided to stick with their plan for cautious monthly increases in oil production even as prices surge and the global economy is thirsty for fuel.

The OPEC+ alliance, made up of OPEC members led by the Saudis and non-members led by Russia, rebuffed pressure from U.S. President Joe Biden to pump significantly more oil and lower gasoline prices for U.S. drivers.

The U.S. benchmark lost $2.05 to $78.81 on Thursday.

Brent crude, the standard for international pricing, rose 73 cents to $81.27 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar rose to 113.82 Japanese yen from 113.75 Japanese yen. The euro was flat at $1.1557.