Global Shares Mixed, Led By Tokyo Gains

TOKYO (AP) -- Global shares were mixed Thursday, cheered by the rally on Wall Street that's likely a boon for export-driven regional economies, despite concerns over the coronanvirus pandemic.

France's CAC 40 inched down less than 0.1% in early trading, to 5,069.64, while Germany's DAX dipped 0.1% to 13,041.60. Britain's FTSE 100 lost 1.1% to 6,211.42. U.S. futures inched lower with the contract for the Dow industrials down 0.1% to 27,834.0. The S&P 500 future fell 0.1% to 3,365,62.

Investors are awaiting the release of weekly U.S. unemployment data, although markets have largely figured in some of the expected numbers. Jobless claims have been totaling about 16 million lately, with weekly numbers of people seeking unemployment checks growing to levels unseen since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Hayaki Narita at Mizuho Bank in Singapore warned against excess optimism about the U.S. economy, despite moderating numbers of new coronavirus cases and progress toward development of a vaccine that might help restore normality in a world encumbered by quarantine restrictions and fear of contagion.

“Encouraging signs of U.S. COVID curve flattening alongside vaccine hopes are reason for cautious optimism, not unbridled exuberance,” he said.

In Asian trading, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 jumped 1.8% to finish at 23,249.61. South Korea's Kospi gained 0.2% to 2,437.53. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was little changed, slipping less than 0.1% to 25,224.93, while the Shanghai Composite index gained less than 2 points, to 3,320.73.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.7% to 6,091.00, despite better than expected unemployment data for July. The number of jobs added was more than forecast and the unemployment rate was 7.5%.

“So while this employment report is a broadly positive piece of economic data, the Australian labor market is still under severe stress following the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Robert Carnell, regional head of research for Asia-Pacific at ING.

Trade tensions between the U.S. and China are adding to uncertainties, with officials from both sides due to hold a virtual meeting Friday to discuss progress on a deal reached in January that brought a truce in a tariff war.

In other trading, benchmark U.S. crude slipped 5 cents to $42.62 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose $1.06 to $42.67 a barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude oil fell 5 cents to $45.38 a barrel.

The dollar fell to 106.66 Japanese yen from 106.89 yen. The euro rose to $1.1824 from $1.1764.