Global shares edged up on Monday as investors weighed risks from rising coronavirus cases against evidence of a recovery in industrial activity in China and Europe.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s weekend comments that President Donald Trump plans to take action on what he sees as a broad array of national security risks presented by software connected to the Chinese Communist Party caused market jitters in Asia.
Pompeo’s remarks followed reports that Microsoft is in advanced talks to buy the U.S. operations of TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance and is seen as a source of national security and censorship concerns by the Trump administration.
Market sentiment improved in European trading after so-called PMI surveys of the industry showed activity in the sector picked up markedly in July as lockdowns continued to ease.
France’s CAC 40 added 1.1% to 4,836, while Germany’s DAX gained 2.1% to 12,574. Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 0.9% to 5,948. U.S. shares were set to drift higher with Dow futures rising 0.4% and S&P 500 futures up 0.5%.
In Asian trading, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 2.2% to finish at 22,195.38. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was flat at 5,926.10. South Korea’s Kospi edged 0.% higher to 2,251.04. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 0.6% to 24,458.13, while the Shanghai Composite index jumped 1.8% to 3,367.97.
Investors were also watching the Caixin manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index, a private survey which showed China’s manufacturing activity grew in July, rising to a higher than expected level of 52.8 on a 0-100 scale where 50 marks the break between expansion and contraction.
A strong rebound in Western economic activity should better the investor mood this week, even though the short-term direction will likely remain blurred by the persistent COVID threat and global trade tensions,” Ipek Ozkardeskaya, a senior analyst at Swissquote Bank, said in a commentary.
Worries are high that waves of coronavirus infections around the world may halt a nascent recovery.
The premier of Australia’s Victoria state, Daniel Andrews, said a state of disaster had been imposed, among sweeping new coronavirus-related restrictions to be imposed across Melbourne and the region from Sunday night.
That included an 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew beginning Sunday night. On Monday, all non-essential workers were ordered to stay home for six weeks beginning late Wednesday. Industries that will have to close on-site operations for six weeks include most retailers and manufacturing.
Investors will meanwhile look to Washington, where slow, grinding negotiations on a huge COVID-19 relief bill are set to resume on Monday. The path forward promises to be challenging. Both the Trump administration negotiating team and top Capitol Hill Democrats reported progress over the weekend even as they highlighted their differences.
In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude oil lost 18 cents to 40.09 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude fell 16 cents to 43.36 a barrel.
The dollar inched up to 106.09 Japanese yen from 105.90 yen on Friday. The euro was a little lower at 1.1731, down from 1.1779.