Global shares mostly rise after Wall Street’s pause

A currency trader talks on the phone near the screens showing the foreign exchange rates at the foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. Asian shares were mixed Thursday, after Wall Street took a pause from the optimism underlined in a record-setting climb earlier in the week. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Global shares were mostly higher Thursday, although Wall Street had taken a pause from the market optimism underlined in a record-setting climb earlier in the week.

U.S. markets will be closed Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday. They will be open for half the day on Friday, closing at 1 p.m. Eastern. France’s CAC 40 edged up nearly 0.2% in early trading to 5,580.20, while Germany’s DAX rose 0.2% to 13,310.23. Britain’s FTSE 100 slipped 0.3% to 6,373.48. Dow futures gained 0.1% to 29,862, while S&P 500 futures added 0.2% to 3,633.38.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 0.9% to finish at 26,537.31, the highest level for the index since the collapse of the Japanese “bubble economy” nearly three decades ago. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.7% to 6,636.40, but South Korea’s Kospi edged up 0.9% to 2,625.91. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.6% to 26,819.45, while the Shanghai Composite was up 0.2% at 3,369.73.

The upbeat mood earlier in the week was set off by news of the development of coronavirus vaccines and treatments. A reality check then appeared to be setting in amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and a batch of discouraging U.S. economic data, including jobless numbers. “Investors are still inoculated from iffy data this week, reveling in the vaccine pipeline. Still, they might need to be concerned with more days like this as the virus hits the economy faster than the vaccine rollout evolves,” said Stephen Innes, chief global market strategist at Axi.

Cases of COVID-19 continue to soar around the world, and deaths related to the sickness are growing, hitting more than 1.4 million people cumulatively worldwide. Worries are growing about it spreading during the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. In Japan, authorities asked restaurants and bars to close early, and people to refrain from travel.

Recent reports show the number of Americans seeking unemployment aid jumped last week to the highest level in more than a month. A separate report showed consumer spending posted the weakest gain since April. “The market overall has reached by most standards what we call overbought conditions, and that typically suggests that the market would need to digest the gains, perhaps pause a bit, and consolidate,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial.

Traders have also been encouraged by signs that the transition of power in the U.S. to President-elect Joe Biden has begun. Wall Street is also welcoming Biden’s selection of former Fed chair Janet Yellen as treasury secretary.

The Commerce Department said U.S. consumer spending, the primary driver of the economy, rose by a sluggish 0.5% in October, the weakest gain since April when the pandemic first erupted. At the same time, the government said that income, which provides the fuel for consumer spending, fell 0.7% in October. In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude shed 32 cents to $45.39 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, fell 28 cents to $48.33 a barrel.

The U.S. dollar inched down to 104.29 yen from 104.50 yen. The euro cost $1.1933, up from $1.1885.

Source: Associated Press