Friday, August 7, 2020
Aug. 7, 2020

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World stocks mostly turn lower with U.S. closed for holiday

The Columbian
Published:

World stock markets fell slightly in Europe on Friday after gains in Asia, with trading somewhat subdued by a long holiday weekend in the U.S.

With Wall Street remaining closed in observance of Independence Day, Germany’s DAX edged 0.6% lower to 12,528.18. The CAC 40 in Paris dropped 0.8% to 5,007.14, while Britain’s FTSE closed down 1.3% at 6,157.30.

Markets had risen earlier in Asia as investors there got their first opportunity to react to the stronger-than-expected U.S. jobs figures released on Thursday.

The jobs data and improved global indicators boosted sentiment, albeit momentarily, along with positive reports on potential vaccines and treatments for the coronavirus that has infected more than 10.8 million people and killed over 520,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University that experts say understates the tally due to issues with testing and asymptomatic cases.

The U.S. government said employers added 4.8 million jobs to their payrolls in June for the second-straight month of growth. The unemployment rate remains very high at 11.1%, but last month’s improvement was much better than economists expected.

The pandemic makes collecting data on the economy unusually difficult, but economists say it’s clear that the job market is improving after collapsing in the spring amid widespread shutdowns.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index picked up 0.7% to 22,306.48, while the Shanghai Composite index gained 62.24 points to 3,152.81, its highest close since April 2019. In South Korea, the Kospi gained 0.8% to 2,152.41. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.4% to 6,057.90. India’s Sensex added 0.4% and shares also rose in Taiwan and Southeast Asia.

Overnight, the S&P 500 rose 0.5%, its fourth-straight gain, ending the holiday-shortened week with a gain of 4%.

A recent surge in new confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Florida, Texas and several other states has led some governors to halt the reopening of their economies or to order some businesses, such as restaurants and bars, to re-close. That has dimmed some of the optimism for a relatively quick economic turnaround, especially for travel-related sectors like cruise lines.

In other trading, benchmark U.S. crude oil for August delivery slipped 37 cents to $40.28 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 83 cents Thursday to settle at $40.65 a barrel. Brent crude oil for September delivery dropped 29 cents to $42.85 a barrel.

In currency dealings, the dollar edged up, to 107.52 Japanese yen from 107.50 yen. The euro edged up to $1.1243 from $1.1236.

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