Global shares were mostly higher Tuesday despite worries about rising numbers of coronavirus cases.
France’s CAC 40 added 0.7% in early trading to 7,266.59, while Germany’s DAX edged up 0.3% to 16,064.91. Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 1.2% to 7,475.46. The future contract for the Dow industrials was 0.2% higher and the contract for the S&P 500 also gained 0.2%.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 jumped 1.8% to 29,301.79 in Tokyo’s first trading day of 2022. Shares also rose in Australia, South Korea and Hong Kong, but edged lower in Shanghai.
Toyota Motor Corp. gained 6.1%, while Sony Corp. added 3.4%.
Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki and other dignitaries rang a bell at the Tokyo Stock Exchange to herald the opening of trading. At the smaller exchange in Osaka, in western Japan, women carried on the tradition of attending the year’s opening ceremony in colorful kimono.
Troubled Chinese developer Evergrande announced it had been ordered to demolish a 39-building resort in the southern province of Hainan. Shares in the company were suspended from trading on Monday but resumed trading Tuesday, gaining 1.9%.
Evergrande is struggling with $310 billion in debt and the order to demolish the resort was a new blow to its finances.
Evergrande Group gave no explanation, but news reports said the government of Danzhou, a city on the southern island province of Hainan, found it was improperly built and violated urban planning law.
Tighter official restrictions on the use of borrowed money by China’s real estate industry have prompted fears of possible defaults and a financial crisis. Chinese regulators have tried to reassure investors that any potential impact on financial markets can be contained.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was little changed, inching up less than 0.1% to 23,289.84. The Shanghai Composite edged down 0.2% to 3,632.33.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 jumped nearly 2.0% to 7,589.80. South Korea’s Kospi gained less than 1 point to 2,989.24.
Asia has had fewer coronavirus infections and deaths than the U.S. and parts of Europe. But worries are growing about an inevitable surge with reported detections of faster spreading omicron.
“While sentiments may attempt to ride on the optimism from Wall Street, market participants have generally been more cautious in taking on more risks in the region,” said Yeap Jun Rong, market strategist at IG in Singapore.
On Monday, the S&P 500 rose 0.6% to 4,796.56 and the Dow finished 0.7% higher, at 36,585.06. Both indexes eclipsed the record highs they set last Wednesday. The Nasdaq composite rose 1.2% to 15,832.80.
Smaller company stocks also rose. The Russell 2000 gained 1.2% to 2,272.56.
Recent solid gains suggest investors remain bullish about stocks, despite the recent spike in COVID-19 cases from the virus’ fast-spreading omicron variant and expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will begin pushing up interest rates sometime this year to fight rising inflation.
Investors have several key pieces of economic data to look forward to during the first week of the new year, including the Labor Department’s jobs report on Friday. The Institute for Supply Management will give investors an update on the manufacturing sector on Tuesday and the services sector on Thursday.
In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude gained 32 cents to $76.40 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 87 cents to $76.08 per barrel on Monday. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 30 cents to $79.28 a barrel.
In currency trading, the U.S. dollar rose to 115.84 Japanese yen from 115.31 yen. The euro cost $1.1298, up from $1.1296.