World Markets Shrug Off Tech-Led Selloff on Wall Street

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
The Associated Press
February 4, 2022 Updated: February 4, 2022

BANGKOK—Shares in Europe and Asia were mostly higher Friday after a historic plunge in the stock price of Facebook’s parent company yanked other tech stocks lower on Wall Street.

Shares rose in Paris, London, and Tokyo. Hong Kong jumped 3.3 percent after reopening from Lunar New Year holidays. Trading in Shanghai will resume on Monday.

But world markets were little affected. Trading has been relatively muted this week, with Chinese markets closed and coronavirus cases still surging in Asia, especially in Japan and Hong Kong.

“Unfortunately, coronavirus is dragging on like ground hog day and touching all of us,” Shane Oliver of AMP Capital said in a commentary.

Investors will get updates on U.S. jobs with the Labor Department’s monthly report for January on Friday. Fresh inflation data are due next week.

In London, the FTSE 100 added 0.5 percent to 7,568.99, while the CAC 40 in Paris climbed 0.3 percent to 7,024.92. Germany’s DAX gave up early gains, falling 0.5 percent to 15,290.44.

On Wall Street, the future for the S&P 500 jumped 0.8 percent, while the contract for the Dow future was up 0.3 percent.

Wall Street’s major indexes are still on track for weekly gains, helped by strong earnings reports from companies like Apple, Exxon, UPS, and Google’s parent Alphabet.

On Thursday, the S&P 500 fell 2.4 percent, its biggest drop in nearly a year, weighed down by the 26.4 percent wipeout in Meta Platforms, as Facebook’s owner is now known. It erased more than $230 billion in market value, easily the biggest one-day loss in history for a U.S. company. The stocks of other social media companies including Twitter and Snap also fell.

The Dow industrials lost 1.5 percent and the tech-focused Nasdaq composite gave up 3.7 percent, its biggest loss since September 2020. The Russell 2000 index of small caps lost 1.9 percent.

The retreat ended a four-day winning streak for the market.

In Asia on Friday, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 771 points to 24,573.29. The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo added 0.7 percent to 27,439.99. South Korea’s Kospi advanced 1.6 percent to 2,750.26. In Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 reversed early losses to gain 0.6 percent, closing at 7,120.20.

India’s benchmark Sensex lost 0.2 percent.

Big technology and communications companies played a big role in driving gains for the broader market throughout the pandemic and much of the recovery in 2021. But investors have been shifting money in expectation of rising interest rates, which make shares in high-flying tech companies and other expensive growth stocks relatively less attractive.

The Federal Reserve is planning its first interest rate hike in March, aiming to tamp down inflation that has surged to 40-year highs. Those higher costs will likely persist until supply chains loosen and help ease costs for businesses and perhaps lower prices for consumers.

In other trading, U.S. benchmark crude oil picked up $1 to $91.27 per gallon after surging $2.01 to $90.27 per gallon on Thursday.

Brent crude, the basis for pricing international oils, gained 94 cents to $92.05 per gallon.

The U.S. dollar rose to 115.08 Japanese yen from 114.96 yen late Thursday. The euro was at $1.1462, up from $1.1437.

By Elaine Kurtenbach