BANGKOK—World markets were lower Friday, tracking a retreat on Wall Street led by declines in big technology stocks.
Shares fell in Paris, Frankfurt, Tokyo, and Shanghai but rose in Hong Kong. U.S. futures also slipped.
A resurgence of coronavirus outbreaks has added to uncertainties over a revival of tourism and other business activity in many parts of the world including Asia.
The World Health Organization says a record 9.5 million COVID-19 cases were tallied over the last week as the omicron variant of the coronavirus swept the planet, a 71 percent increase from the previous 7-day period that the U.N. health agency likened to a “tsunami.”
Germany’s DAX lost 0.7 percent to 15,942.67 while the CAC 40 in Paris declined 0.5 percent to 7,215.30. Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 0.1 percent to 7,443.90, The future for the Dow industrials lost 10 points while that for the S&P 500 slipped 0.2 percent.
Japan approved new restrictions on Friday to curb a sharp rise in coronavirus cases in the three most affected southwestern regions of Okinawa, Yamaguchi, and Hiroshima.
Asia has seen smaller numbers but infections are rising rapidly and bottlenecks in testing mean that still more cases are likely unreported. At the same time, alarm has been kept in check by signs the omicron variant may cause less severe illness.
Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index edged less than 0.1 percent lower to 28,478.56 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong jumped 1.8 percent to 23,493.48. South Korea’s Kospi gained 1.2 percent to 2,954.89, while the Shanghai Composite index shed early gains to fall 0.2 percent, closing at 3,579.54. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.3 percent to 7,453.30.
Shares in Taiwan dropped 1.1 percent and India’s Sensex was nearly unchanged.
On Thursday, the S&P 500 slipped 0.1 percent to 4,696.05. The Dow slipped 0.5 percent to 36,236.47. The Nasdaq composite lost 0.1 percent to 15,080.86, while smaller company stocks bucked the broader market, with the Russell 2000 index gaining 0.6 percent to 2,206.37.
Weakness in big tech companies like Apple was the main culprit.
Bonds continued to climb. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.73 percent, the highest level since March. It was 1.70 percent late Wednesday.
The selling followed a broad slide for the markets on Wednesday, when the Federal Reserve indicated it was ready to raise interest rates to fight off inflation.
The Labor Department reported that the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose last week but remained at historically low levels, suggesting that the job market remains strong.
Much attention will be focused on the Labor Department’s monthly jobs report, due out on Friday. A strong jobs report could add urgency to the Federal Reserve’s efforts to tackle inflation by raising interest rates.
In other trading Friday, U.S. benchmark crude oil added 54 cents to $80.00 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It jumped 2.1 percent on Thursday, helping to push energy stocks higher.
Brent crude, the basis for pricing international oil, climbed 54 cents to $82.53 per barrel.
The U.S. dollar slipped to 115.90 Japanese yen from 115.85 yen late Thursday. The euro rose to $1.1315 from $1.1298.
By Elaine Kurtenbach