Global Shares Mixed Amid Rate Hike, COVID, Oil Price Worries

TOKYO (AP) -- World shares were mixed Thursday, with European benchmarks opening higher after a broad decline in Asia.

Oil prices fell by more than $2 a barrel ahead of a meeting of OPEC set for later in the day. Oil-producing nations are expected to decide on output targets in their first meeting since Europe set sanctions on Russian crude.

The Financial Times reported Saudi Arabia has indicated to western allies it could raise production to cover any substantial fall in Russian production.

Supply bottlenecks would persist, Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary, "but it would be a rare piece of good news for the global economy and the inflation fight."

France's CAC 40 gained 1.0% in early trading to 6,481.90, while Germany's DAX added 0.8% to 14,454.96. Markets were closed in Britain for the Platinum Jubilee marking Queen Elizabeth's 70 years on the throne. The future for the S&P 500 futures rose 0.3% and that for the Dow industrials gained 0.5%.

In China, strict COVID-19 restrictions are back in Hong Kong as infections rise, while they are gradually being lifted in Shanghai. China has stuck to a "zero-COVID" strategy that requires lockdowns, mass testing and isolation for those infected or who has been in contact with someone testing positive.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 0.2% to finish at 27,413.88. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.8% to 7,175.90. South Korea's Kospi slipped 1.0% to 2,658.99. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dipped 1.0% to 21,082.13, while the Shanghai Composite reversed earlier losses, gaining 0.4% to 3,195.46.

Daily market swings have become routine amid worries that too-aggressive rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve may force the American economy into a recession. Even if it can avoid choking off the economy, higher rates put downward pressure on stocks and other investments regardless. High inflation is meanwhile eating into corporate profits, while the war in Ukraine and business-slowing, anti-COVID-19 restrictions in China have also weighed on markets.

The Fed has signaled it may continue raising its key short-term interest rate by double the usual amount at upcoming meetings in June and July. Speculation built last week that the Fed may consider a pause at its September meeting, which helped stocks to rise. But such hopes diminished after Wednesday's manufacturing report from the Institute for Supply Management.

It showed U.S. manufacturing growth accelerated last month, contrary to economists' expectations for a slowdown. A separate report said that the number of job openings across the economy ticked a bit lower in April but remains much higher, at 11.4 million, than the number of unemployed people.

Wednesday marked the start of the Fed's program to pare back some of the trillions of dollars of Treasurys and other bonds that it amassed through the pandemic. Such a move should put upward pressure on longer-term rates.

The 10-year Treasury yield rose to 2.92% from 2.84% just before the report's release.

Benchmark U.S. crude lost $2.56 to $112.70 a barrel. Oil prices rose 0.5% to settle at $115.26 on Wednesday. Brent crude, the international standard, shed $2.66 to $113.63 a barrel.

In currency trading, the U.S. dollar slid to 129.94 Japanese yen from 130.15 yen. The euro rose to $1.0695 from $1.0649.