Flat open on Wall Street amid coronavirus, economic concerns


NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are opening flat on Wall Street Friday and global shares are mixed as investor attention shifts again to the uncertainties in global economies amid the coronavirus pandemic. The S&P 500 is up less than 0.1% and is headed for its first weekly gain in the last three. European indexes are lower, while Japan’s benchmark finished higher. Shares also rose in China and South Korea. Investors are disappointed after the U.S. Federal Reserve declined to signal more stimulus. Signs of a potential second wave of the virus is weighing on market sentiment.

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

Global shares were mixed on Friday as investors weighed the uncertainties around global economic outlook and a new rise in coronavirus cases in many countries.

Wall Street appeared set for a subdued start to trading, with Dow futures sinking nearly 0.1% and S&P 500 futures up nearly 0.2%.

France’s CAC 40 fell 0.2% to 5,031, while Germany’s DAX gained 0.3% to 13,246. Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 0.2% to 6,040 after the government imposed new limits on public gatherings to counter an increase in virus cases.

Traders are assessing whether recent gains in the stock market are overdone considering a glum economic outlook. Economists say that the speed of the recovery from the global recession will depend on containing the spread of the coronavirus, which is picking up again in many countries.

Central banks including the Federal Reserve, Bank of England and Bank of Japan this week refrained from providing more stimulus but are committed to keeping rates low until growth picks up sustainably.

U.S. jobs figures on Thursday highlighted how the economy is struggling to rebound. Official records showed that the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell only slightly last week to 860,000, a historically high number that illustrates the broad economic damage still taking place nine months after the first case of COVID-19 was detected in the U.S.

Some investors appeared disappointed by a lack of new action by the Fed, whose easy monetary policy has helped drive stock markets.

“Hesitations as to whether the U.S. economy can sustain the current pace of recovery amid the lack of additional fiscal policy support and the Fed standing put on stimulus had the market reeling once again,” said Jingy Pan, senior market analyst at IG.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 0.2% to finish at 23,360.30. South Korea’s Kospi added 0.3% to 2,412.40. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.3% to 5,864.50. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.5% to 24,455.41, while the Shanghai Composite edged up 2.1% to 3,338.09.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude gained 14 cents to $41.11 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, added 15 cents to $43.45 a barrel.

The dollar cost 104.57 Japanese yen, down from 104.63 yen Thursday. The euro stood at $1.1850, up from $1.1804.

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