Global Shares Follow Wall Street Higher, Shrug Off Omicron Fears

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
The Associated Press
December 28, 2021 Updated: December 28, 2021

TOKYO—Global shares advanced Tuesday following a rally on Wall Street as investors shrugged off concerns about the highly transmissible omicron variant of the coronavirus.

France’s CAC 40 edged up 0.2 percent in early trading to 7,155.68, while Germany’s DAX added 0.3 percent to 15,878.65. Britain’s FTSE 100 was little changed at 7,372.10. U.S. shares were set for gains, with Dow futures up nearly 0.1 percent to 26,200.00. S&P 500 futures were little changed, up less than 0.1 percent at 4,783.25.

With New Year celebrations approaching, the desire to let loose and party is being countered by uncertainties over omicron.

In Britain omicron infections have pushed caseloads to record highs, and in other parts of the United Kingdom, authorities have ordered nightclubs to close and imposed limits on gatherings.

Closures of nonessential businesses and lockdowns have taken effect or will soon in some European countries

Much of Asia has yet to see surges in infections of the omicron variant already playing out in other parts of the world, but experts are warning the region likely won’t be spared.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 jumped 1.4 percent to finish at 29,069.16. South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.7 percent to 3,020.24. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng recouped early losses to edge up 0.2 percent to 23,280.56, while the Shanghai Composite gained 0.4 percent to 3,630.11. Trading was closed in Australia for Boxing Day.

In Japan, new daily cases have averaged 200 recently, with no big wave of new cases so far. Many areas are bustling with yearend shoppers, and events are being held with spectators, although most people are wearing masks.

Still, analysts warned uncertainties lie ahead.

“Record rallies are a tad too optimistic,” said Vishnu Varathan of Mizuho Bank, pointing to huge numbers of omicron cases in Europe and the U.S.

Technology companies led U.S. stocks broadly higher on Monday as Wall Street kicked off the final week in a banner year for the stock market with mostly muted trading.

With the omicron coronavirus variant continuing to spread quickly throughout the U.S. and other countries, most big investors have closed out their positions for 2021, and are like to hold their ground until next week.

Authorities in many countries have doubled down on vaccination efforts as omicron outbreaks complicate efforts stave off fresh lockdowns while hospitals are still under strain from delta variant infections.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude added 40 cents to $75.97 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained $1.78 on Monday to $75.57 per barrel.

Brent crude, the international standard, rose 39 cents to $78.99 a barrel.

In currency trading, the U.S. dollar inched down to $114.80 from $114.87. The euro cost $1.1330, inching up from $1.1327.

By Yuri Kageyama