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Wednesday May 12th, 2021 9:48AM

US stocks open flat following gains for global stocks

By The Associated Press
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BEIJING (AP) — Wall Street is beginning 2021’s first trading day mostly flat, amid tempered optimism about the rollout of coronavirus vaccines. The S&P 500 was up less than 1 point at 9:35 Eastern time, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 62 points. Vaccine development by U.S., European and Chinese producers has raised hopes a return to normal might be closer after the global economy’s worst decline since the 1930s. That’s offset by concern over rising infection numbers in the U.S. and some other countries and conflict in Washington over economic aid. London and Frankfurt opened higher. Asian markets rose slightly.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

Global stock markets and U.S. futures rose Monday on 2021’s first trading day, boosted by optimism about coronavirus vaccines after Wall Street ended the year on a new high.

London and Frankfurt opened higher while Shanghai, Hong Kong and Seoul advanced. Tokyo declined.

Optimism about vaccines has outweighed concern about rising infection numbers in the United States and some other countries and conflict over economic aid in Washington, said Stephen Innes of Axi in a report.

Traders are “perhaps a bit over-eager” but believe vaccines will “provide the ultimate economic kick-start, offering a massive booster shot to corporate profits,” said Innes.

In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London rose 1.5% to 6,556.13 while the DAX in Frankfurt added 1.1% to 13,869.71. The CAC 40 in France gained 1.4% to 5,628.05.

On Wall Street, futures for the benchmark S&P 500 index and Dow Jones Industrial Averages were 0.4% higher.

On Thursday, the S&P rose 0.6% in 2020's final trading day. It ended the year up 16.3%, or a total return of about 18.4% with dividends.

The Dow rose 0.7% to a record. The Nasdaq composite added 0.1%.

In Asia on Monday, the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.9% to 3,502.96 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.9% to 27,472.81.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo lost 0.7% to 27,258.38 after Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said a state of emergency was under consideration for the Japanese capital and three surrounding prefectures due to surging virus caseloads.

Suga called on restaurants and bars to close by 8 p.m. and said it would be difficult to restart a travel promotion program that was suspended last month. He said the government would expedite approval of coronavirus vaccines and begin providing injections in February.

The Kospi in Seoul rose 2.5% to 2,944.45 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 added 1.5% to 6,684.20.

India's Sensex advanced 0.4% to 48,055.61. Southeast Asian markets also rose.

Vaccine development by U.S., European and Chinese producers has helped to buoy optimism that a return to normal might be closer after the global economy’s worst decline since the 1930s.

The United States and Britain have approved Pfizer Inc.’s vaccine and Britain approved a second vaccine from AstraZeneca and Oxford University. China has given the greenlight for its first domestically developed vaccine. Others are being tested.

Governments might throw less stimulus at their economies than last year, but policy is “still at a very loose setting,” which supports stock prices and lending, said Kerry Craig of JP Morgan Asset Management in a report.

“Investors should look through the bumpier start to the new economic cycle and focus on the improved earnings outlook,” Craig said.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude gained 95 cents to $49.47 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 12 cents on Thursday to $48.52. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added $1.16 to $52.96 per barrel in London. It rose 17 cents the previous session to $51.80.

The dollar declined to 102.80 yen from Thursday’s 103.27. The euro rose to $1.2282 from $1.2211.

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