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Global shares mixed amid 2nd wave virus, election fears

Friday, October 16, 2020 | Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer

A man stands near an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. Asian shares were mixed on Friday as investors weighed concerns about the U.S. presidential election and an economic stimulus package, on top of fears of flaring outbreaks of coronavirus. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

TOKYO (AP) — Global shares were mixed on Friday as investors weighed concerns about the U.S. presidential election and an economic stimulus package, on top of flaring outbreaks of coronavirus.

France's CAC 40 jumped 1.2% in early trading to 4,896.78, while Germany's DAX gained 0.5% to 12,762.11. Britain's FTSE 100 added nearly 1.0% to 5,889.79. The future for the Dow industrials was virtually unchanged at 5,889.79. S&P 500 futures inched up less than 0.1% to 3,477.62.

Looking ahead, markets are awaiting the release of data on the Chinese economy next week.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 0.4% to finish at 23,410.63. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.5% to 6,176.80. South Korea's Kospi declined 0.8% to 2,341.53. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.9% to 24,386.79, while the Shanghai Composite edged 0.1% higher to 3,336.36.

Markets have turned cautious this week amid a confluence of worrisome trends amid the pandemic. Coronavirus infections are rising in Europe, prompting governments in France and Britain to impose new measures to contain the outbreak. Caseloads area also climbing in the Americas and parts of Asia.

In the U.S., investor optimism that the Trump administration and Congress will soon reach a deal on another round of stimulus for the economy has waned.

“The markets’ on again off again love affair with an impending stimulus torrent masks the fact that investor uncertainty is bristling ahead of an expected choppy period in terms of headline risk,” Stephen Innes of Axi said in a commentary.

Meanwhile, campaign theatrics continue, with the latest question whether the debate scheduled next week between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joseph Biden will go ahead as planned. The clash planned for this week was called off after Trump's bout of coronavirus. Biden has said he plans to participate in next week’s debate but intends to ask Trump to take a COVID-19 test before arriving.

Investors are also watching for earnings reports for indications of how businesses are holding up amid the pandemic. Rising COVID-19 cases may bring more social distancing restrictions and limits on public life, including a possible return to lockdowns that are damaging to growth.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude lost 28 cents to $40.68 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gave up 8 cents on Thursday to $40.96. Brent crude, the international standard, fell 37 cents to $42.79 a barrel.

The U.S. dollar stood at 105.24 Japanese yen, down from 105.42 yen late Thursday. The euro cost $1.1715, little changed from $1.1710.

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