Global Shares Track Wall Street Gains Amid Vaccine Hopes

TOKYO (AP) -- Global shares were mostly higher Friday on hopes for a coronavirus vaccine, although worries remained about long-term economic damage from the pandemic.

France's CAC 40 edged up 0.2% in early trading to 4,921.04, while Germany's DAX gained 0.3% to 12,870.89. Britain's FTSE 100 edged down 0.3% to 5,996.62. U.S. shares were set to drift slightly lower with Dow futures little changed at 27,653. S&P 500 futures were down nearly 0.1% at 3,378.38.

Asian benchmarks rallied, echoing the gains on Wall Street, which were led by big technology companies that are benefiting from people staying home during the pandemic.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 0.2% to finish at 22,920.30. South Korea's Kospi edged up 1.3% to 2,304.59. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 inched down 0.1% to 6,111.20. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 1.3% to 25,113.84, while the Shanghai Composite rose 0.5% to 3,380.6.

Reports that Pfizer's vaccine is on track to seek October regulatory review boosted sentiments despite uncertainty about global growth, said Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG in Singapore.

“Asia markets have broadly tailed Wall Street with gains, aided also by the latest vaccine news boost to sentiment,” Pan said.

Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech said they will take their COVID-19 vaccine candidate with the fewest side effects into final-stage testing. It's one of a handful of experimental vaccines to reach end-stage tests around the world.

“But this morning brief moment of vaccine excitment was tempered by the fact COVID -19 flashpoints are still happening around the globe, which is the current real-time litmus test, whereas the vaccine is still a bit of pie in the sky at this juncture,” Stephen Innes, chief global market strategist at AxiCorp, said in his report.

Also supporting market sentiment was a comment from China's Commerce Ministry on Thursday that Chinese and U.S. trade envoys will hold a meeting by phone “in the near future” to discuss an agreement aimed at resolving their tariff war. No details on timing were given. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the talks were part of the process of implementing the U.S.-China trade deal.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 19 cents to $42.63 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, slipped 13 cents to $44.77 a barrel.

The U.S. dollar slipped to 105.49 Japanese yen from 105.87 yen Thursday. The euro cost $1.1815, up slightly from $1.1842.