Asian markets lower on virus worries after Wall Street slips

Tuesday, August 3, 2021 | Joe Mcdonald, AP Business Writer

A woman walks past a bank's electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index at Hong Kong Stock Exchange Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021. Asian stock markets followed Wall Street lower on Tuesday as jitters about the coronavirus's delta variant dented enthusiasm about strong corporate profits. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

BEIJING (AP) — European stocks opened higher Tuesday while Asian markets declined as jitters about the spread of the coronavirus's delta variant in China and the United States dented enthusiasm about strong corporate profits.

London and Frankfurt advanced while Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong fell.

Wall Street futures were higher after the benchmark S&P 500 index closed lower Monday, weighed down by declines for tech, energy, industrial and communications stocks.

Investors were encouraged by unexpectedly strong U.S. earnings but are more uneasy as China, the United States and other governments try to stop the spread of the more contagious delta variant.

“Concerns (are) rising once again that the global recovery could be thrown off track by the virus,” Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a report.

“What is spooking markets is China,” Halley said. “It’s not a huge reach to extrapolate even more supply chain disruptions, especially if it proves as elusive to control for Chinese authorities as it has to officials globally.”

In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London gained 0.3% to 7,103.62 and the DAX in Frankfurt added under 0.1% to 15,579.92. The CAC 40 in Paris advanced 0.8% to 6,727.16.

On Wall Street, the future for the S&P 500 index was up 0.3%. That for the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.4% higher.

On Monday, the S&P 500 slipped 0.2% while the Dow dropped 0.3%. The Nasdaq composite added 0.1%.

A slide in technology, industrial, raw materials and communication companies weighed on the market. Energy stocks also fell in tandem with crude oil prices. Gains by health care stocks, utilities and a variety of retailers and other companies that rely on direct consumer spending helped keep the losses in check.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.5% to 3,447.99 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo sank 0.5% to 27,641.83. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong was 0.2% lower at 26,194.82.

The Kospi in South Korea gained 0.4% to 3,237.14 and Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 was off 0.2% at 7,474.50.

India's Sensex rose 1.1% to 53,516.34. New Zealand and Singapore declined while Bangkok and Indonesia gained.

Investors looked ahead to U.S. employment data due out Friday for indications of whether hiring has held up.

On Monday, U.S. markets appeared to shrug off a report by the Institute for Supply Management, a trade group, that manufacturing slowed in July. Many companies are being held back by supply chain disruptions.

Also this week, some 150 companies in the S&P 500 are due to report results.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose 32 cents to $71.58 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Monday, the contract fell $2.69 to $71.26. Brent crude, the price basis for international oils, added 30 cents to $73.19 per barrel in London. It tumbled $2.52 the previous session to $72.89 a barrel.

The dollar declined to 109.16 yen from Monday's 109.25 yen The euro gained to $1.1882 from $1.1874.

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