TOKYO (AP) — Global shares were mixed in muted trading Friday amid a continuing conflict between current worries over the worsening pandemic and optimism that vaccines will rescue the economy in the future.
U.S. shares appeared set for a muted open, with Dow futures edging down 0.1% and S&P 500 futures flat. France's CAC 40 rose 0.5% to 5,500, while Germany's DAX rose 0.4% to 13,142. Britain's FTSE 100 gained nearly 0.5% to 6,364.
Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped 0.4% to finish at 25,527.37. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 edged down 0.1% to 6,539.20. South Korea's Kospi added 0.2% to 2,553.50. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.4% to 26,451.54, while the Shanghai Composite rose 0.4% to 3,377.73.
The market's November rally has slowed this week as fears about the economy buckling in the near term collide with hopes that stronger growth will arrive next year once effective coronavirus vaccines become available.
With infections and hospitalizations on the rise across much of the U.S., governors and mayors are grudgingly issuing mask mandates, limiting the size of gatherings, banning indoor restaurant dining, closing gyms and restricting the hours and capacity of other businesses.
Democrats and Republicans in Washington are still stymied in their attempts to deliver another dose of financial support to workers and businesses. That has the specter of a bleak winter looming for both the health care system and the economy.
Counterbalancing all those fears is hope that coming vaccines can control the pandemic and get the global economy back toward normal next year.
“The market is grappling with the push and pull of the progress with the vaccine track, which allows a window to when our economy can reopen, with the current reality of rising cases,” said Bill Northey, senior investment director at U.S. Bank Wealth Management.
University of Oxford scientists expect to report results from the late-stage trials of the COVID-19 vaccine they're developing with AstraZeneca by Christmas, according to a researcher. Already this month, pharmaceutical companies have offered data suggesting other vaccines under development could be highly effective. Pfizer said Friday it is asking U.S. regulators to allow emergency use of the COVID-19 vaccine it is developing with BioNTech, starting the clock on a process that could bring limited first shots as early as next month.
In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude rose 26 cents to $42.00 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 32 cents to $44.52 a barrel.
In currency trading, the dollar inched down to 103.82 Japanese yen from 103.98 yen. The euro cost $1.1870, up from $1.1834.
AP Business Writers Stan Choe, Damian J. Troise and Alex Veiga contributed.