Global markets struggle as hopes for quick rebound fade

Published 10:14 am Friday, April 24, 2020

AP Business Writer
TOKYO (AP) — Global stock markets mostly fell on Friday as hopes faded for a quick recovery from the global coronavirus pandemic.
Investors looked past new economic relief measures in the United States and Europe to focus on the likelihood that reopening economies might take longer than expected.
After losses in much of Asia, European stocks traded lower. France’s CAC 40 dropped 0.4% to 4,433, while Germany’s DAX fell 0.4% to 10,467. Britain’s FTSE 100 shed 0.5% to 5,799.
Wall Street appeared poised for small gains, however, with the futures for the Dow industrials and the S&P 500 both up 0.8%.
Market sentiment appears fragile as attention shifts to the economic damage the world is likely to suffer because of the pandemic, says Prakash Sakpal and Nicholas Mapa, economists at ING.
A report from the Financial Times that said an antiviral drug failed to improve conditions in patients in a Chinese clinical trial cast a shadow over hopes it might turn out to be a potential treatment for coronavirus patients.
The report cited documents published accidentally by the World Health Organization. Researchers said the sample size was too small to draw scientifically valid conclusions and the trial ended early. The Foster City, Calif.-based company behind the drug, Gilead Sciences, said the data represented “inappropriate characterizations” of the China study.
“Investors will continue to be monitoring developments on the COVID-19 front with a setback on clinical testing for a treatment to the virus,” they said in a commentary.
Market players are also focusing on upcoming policy meetings at the Bank of Japan, the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank for signs of what they may say about the state of global economies that appear on the brink of collapse. The U.S. and EU on Thursday approved economic relief packages worth about $500 billion each.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped 0.9% to finish at 19,262.00. South Korea’s Kospi lost 1.3% to 1,889.01, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 climbed 0.5% to 5,242.60. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.6% to 23,831.33, while the Shanghai Composite lost 1.1% to 2,808.53.
In India, the Sensex lost 0.5% to 31,689.62. Shares fell in Taiwan and Southeast Asia.
The price of oil continued a recovery from a massive crash earlier this week. U.S. benchmark crude rose 41 cents to $16.91 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 19.7% to settle at $16.50 a barrel. It has recovered after falling below $12 Monday, though it remains well below the roughly $60 level where it began the year.
Brent crude, the international standard, gained 66 cents to $25.45 a barrel.
The dollar inched up to 107.59 Japanese yen from 107.50 yen Thursday. The euro rose to $1.0789 from $1.0777.

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