World Markets Mixed After Modest Gains on Wall St

BANGKOK (AP) -- European markets opened higher on Friday after a mixed day of trading in Asia, amid persisting worries that the more contagious delta variant of COVID-19 will dent recoveries from the pandemic.

Benchmarks rose in Paris, London and Frankfurt but fell in Hong Kong and Shanghai fell. Tokyo was closed for a holiday.

Investors are nervous about the risk that the more contagious delta variant of COVID-19, which is spreading rapidly, might disrupt the recovery from last year's pandemic shocks.

Germany's DAX added 0.6% to 15,607.15. In Paris, the CAC 40 also rose 0.6%, to 6,522.12. Britain's FTSE 100 surged 0.7% to 7,016.40. The future for the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.3% higher, while the future for the S&P 500 gained 0.4%.

Thailand reported a daily record of 14,575 cases on Friday, with 114 deaths, as a stricter set of limits went into effect in many areas. The central bank, meanwhile, has said this latest, worst outbreak could cause the economy to contract by as much as 2% this year, instead of the recovery it had earlier forecast.

The SET in Bangkok fell 0.4%. In Seoul, the Kospi was 0.1% higher, at 3,254.42, while Sydney's S&P/ASX 200 gained less than 0.1% to 7,394.40.

Regional trading was muted, with markets in Japan closed for a holiday ahead of the opening ceremony for the Tokyo Olympics.

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 1.5% to 27,321.98 and the Shanghai Composite index gave up 0.7% to 3,550.40.

The declines came as Bloomberg reported regulators were planning more penalties for ride-sharing giant Didi, whose shares in New York sank 11.3% on Thursday.

Didi's shares have declined more than 25% since they began trading in New York last month, amid a crackdown by the Chinese government on technology companies.

On Thursday, the S&P 500 rose 0.2% to 4,367.48. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.1% to 34,823.35. The Nasdaq composite gained 0.4% to 14,684.60.

All three indexes remained close to the all-time highs they set early last week.

Hints about when the Federal Reserve may begin to unwind some of the support that's helped keep the economy going during the pandemic, now that inflation is on the rise, is expected from a two-day policy making meeting next week.

The Labor Department on Thursday reported unemployment claims rose last week to 419,000, the most in two months and more than economists were expecting. Economists said it was most likely a blip caused by some one-time factors and partly a result of the inevitable bumpiness in the week-to-week data.

The 10-year Treasury note's yield rose to 1.28% from 1.26% Thursday. The benchmark yield has recovered from its low yields earlier in the week, but is still trading at relatively low levels given that the economy is in a recovery.

In other trading Friday, U.S. benchmark crude oil lost 24 cents to $71.67 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It surged $1.61 to $71.91 on Thursday. Brent crude, the international pricing standard, shed 23 cents to $73.56 per barrel.

The dollar rose to 110.44 Japanese yen from 110.14 yen. The euro strengthened to $1.1785 from $1.1767.