Global equities mixed as markets watch Omicron and central banks

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TOKYO (AP) — Shares were higher Monday in Europe after a mixed trading session in Asia, where the Shanghai benchmark surged after reopening from the Lunar New Year holiday.

France’s CAC 40 was up 0.3% to 6,968.99 in early trade, while Germany’s DAX was up 0.4% to 15,153.17. Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.4% to 7,546.10. The futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.4% to 34,848.0. The S&P 500 futures was 0.3% lower at 4,477.25.

Tensions over Ukraine linger as French President Emmanuel Macron is due to hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Monday before visiting Ukraine T later on Monday to try to de-escalate the situation. Macron spoke to President Joe Biden on Sunday.


Investors are also watching the moves of central banks in India, Indonesia and Thailand, all of which will decide monetary policy within the week.

In Asian trading, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 0.7% to close at 27,248.87. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.1% to 7,110.80. South Korea’s Kospi was down 0.2% at 2,745.06. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was little changed, rising less than 0.1% to 24,579.55, while the Shanghai Composite was up 2% to 3,429.58.

This week brings earnings reports from some of the region’s biggest companies, including Japanese automakers. They can provide updates on computer chip shortages and other disruptions and stresses related to the pandemic.

The increasing COVID infections in the region due to the Omicron variant are also weighing on sentiment. Across much of Japan, the government is backing restaurants and bars to close early to slow the explosive growth in cases and hospitalizations.

Although about 80% of Japanese have received two coronavirus vaccinations, only about 5% have received the booster. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is expected to announce an initiative to step up vaccination, Japanese media reported.

On Friday, the S&P 500 was up 0.5% to 4,500.53. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.1% to 35,089.74 after a last-minute sell-off. The Nasdaq Composite rose 1.6% to 14,098.01. The three indices posted a weekly gain for the second straight week.

Smaller stocks in the Russell 2000 were up 0.6% to 2,002.36.

The US Department of Labor said employers added 467,000 jobs last month, triple forecasts by economists. Some economists had expected job losses because of the Omicron variant given the spike in coronavirus infections in January.

Treasury yields jumped after the release of the jobs report, following forecasts that the Fed will hike short-term interest rates more aggressively than previously expected.

“With the release of most of the big tech earnings, the Fed’s policy outlook could take center stage again in the new trading week,” IG’s Jun Rong Yeap said in a comment.

Market watchers will also be eyeing new US inflation data and jobless claims due Thursday.

The 10-year Treasury bond was up 1.90% on Monday, down from 1.92%.

In energy trading, the US crude index fell $1.10 to $91.21 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose $2.04 to $92.31 on Friday. Brent crude, the international standard, slipped 69 cents to $92.58 a barrel.

In forex trading, the US dollar fell to 115.17 Japanese yen from 115.28 yen. The euro cost $1.1446 compared to $1.1461.

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