Sunday March 7th, 2021 6:50PM

Global markets sink after Fed virus warning

By The Associated Press
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BEIJING (AP) — Global markets and U.S. stock futures declined Thursday after the Federal Reserve warned the coronavirus pandemic might threaten the modest economic recovery and kept interest rates near zero.

London and Frankfurt opened lower. Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong retreated after spending part of the day in positive territory.

Lower interest rates and investor optimism about a possible coronavirus vaccine have helped global markets recover most of this year’s losses. But analysts say it might be too early to bet the recovery will persist, given the rising infection numbers in the United States, Brazil and other countries.

On Wednesday, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell warned that rising U.S. cases, which have led some state governments to reimpose anti-disease measures, threaten the modest recovery from the pandemic.

The Fed said it would keep buying $120 billion of Treasury and mortgage bonds every month to encourage borrowing and spending, but Powell said Congress needs to take action. Legislators have yet to agree on aid after $600 in weekly unemployment benefits for millions of Americans run out this week.

“The current situation is all about money in consumer pockets, which is precisely why fiscal policy is so much more important," Stephen Innes of AxiTrader Corp. said in a report.

In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London lost 1.4% to 6,045.65 and Frankfurt's DAX retreated 2% to 12,565.75. The CAC 40 in France declined 0.8% to 4,917.54.

On Wall Street, futures for the benchmark S&P 500 index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were 1% lower.

On the S&P 500 index rose 1.2% after the Fed's rate announcement. The S&P 500, which was down 34% earlier, is back within 3.8% of its February record.

The Dow rose 0.6% while the Nasdaq composite added 1.4%.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.2% to 3,286.82 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo gave up 0.3% to 22,339.23.

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong tumbled .07% to 24,710.59 after data Wednesday showed the territory's economy shrank by 9% in the quarter ending in June.

The Kospi in Seoul advanced 0.2% to 2,267.01 and Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 added 0.7% to 6,051.10. India's Sensex shed 0.6% to 37,847.47. New Zealand and Jakarta advanced while Singapore and Bangkok retreated.

Also Thursday, Japan reported retail sales rose by a better-than-forecast 13.1% in June over the previous month.

That means retail sales in one of the world's biggest markets were only 0.9% lower than in February before the crisis hit, Tom Learmouth of Capital Economics said in a report.

In the United States, some companies are reporting quarterly results that exceed forecasts, though they still are well below pre-virus levels.

On Wednesday, Advanced Micro Devices rose 12.5% after it reported stronger profit than Wall Street expected. Starbucks gained 3.7% after it reported a loss that wasn't as bad as analysts were expecting.

Eastman Kodak surged 318.1%, gaining for a second day after the company won a $765 million government loan to launch a new business unit making pharmaceutical components. Shares rose to $33.20 from $2.62 on Monday.

Amazon added 1.1% Wednesday, Apple rose 1.9%, Facebook gained 1.4% and the Class A shares of Alphabet, Google's parent company, were up 1.3%.

Gold rose to $1,953.50 per ounce from Wednesday's $1,953.40.

Benchmark U.S. crude lost 58 cents to $40.69 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained 23 cents on Wednesday to $41.27. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 50 cents to $43.59 per barrel in London.

The U.S. dollar rose to 105.14 yen from 104.90 yen on Wednesday. The euro fell to $1.1734 from $1.1789.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Business, AP Business - Corporate News, AP Business - Economy, AP Business - Financial Markets, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Health Care
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