in

Global shares slip amid pandemic, Afghanistan worries

TOKYO (AP) — Global shares slipped Monday amid worries over surging coronavirus infections in Asia as well as concerns about the long-term impact from the Afghan government’s collapse.

France’s CAC 40 fell 0.6% in early trading to 27,523.19, while Germany’s DAX slipped 0.3% to 15,929.31. Britain’s FTSE 100 declined 0.8% to 7,160.18. U.S. shares were set to drift lower with Dow futures slipping nearly 0.2% to 35,356.00. S&P 500 futures were down 0.2% at 4,455.25.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 sagged 1.6% to finish at 27,523.19, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.6% to 7,582.50. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dipped 0.8% to 26,181.46, while the Shanghai Composite inched up less than 0.1% to 3,517.34. South Korean markets were closed for Liberation Day, a national holiday.

Analysts said relatively slow vaccination rollouts in Asia are pushing down investor sentiment. Japan, Thailand and Malaysia are among nations that have recently reported record numbers of new daily cases, and vaccination rollouts in many countries have been unsteady or outpaced by virus surges.

“This is stretching out already elongated timelines to herd immunity, necessitating periodic lockdowns to stymie rising infection rates,” said Venkateswara Lavanya at Mizuho Bank in Singapore.

“Asia remains the epicenter of the spread, with the number of COVID cases in Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand rising over the weekend.”

Analysts said the Taliban sweeping into Afghanistan’s capital may feel like a faraway event but will undoubtedly affect markets elsewhere, including Asia.

“Yes, markets will try to brush this geopolitical earthquake off: It’s just Afghanistan; It’s a long way away,” Rabobank said in its daily market commentary. “This geopolitical nightmare is almost certainly only just beginning.”

In Japan, the government reported the economy grew at an annual rate of 1.3% in April-June, raising hopes for a gradual recovery from the damage brought on by the pandemic. Some analysts had expected a contraction. Underlining growth were improved private consumption and residential investment, as well as rising exports and imports.

(Ad)

5G phones cost a staggering $1,300. If you plan on buying one anytime soon… I got some news for you. It’s a worthless investment. 5G won’t work, unless this one tiny company steps in with its miraculous solution to save it.

Also pushing down investor optimism was the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index, which fell to 70.2 from its previous level of 81.2 in July. That was the largest drop in sentiment since April 2020, when the pandemic took its initial grip on the country.

The unexpectedly bad drop in the survey’s reading was almost entirely due to the spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus, which has caused hospitals to fill up with unvaccinated patients across the U.S.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.21 to $67.21 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, lost $1.07 to $69.52 a barrel.

In currency trading, the U.S. dollar fell to 109.38 yen from 109.56 yen. The euro cost $1.1785, down from $1.1791.

___

Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

7 Bellwether Stocks Signaling a Return to Normal

Bellwether stocks are considered to be leading indicators about the direction of the overall economy, a specific sector, or the broader market. They are predictive stocks in that investors can use the company’s earnings reports to gauge economic strength or weakness.

The traditional definition of bellwether stocks brings to mind established, blue-chip companies. They are the home of mature brands with consumer loyalty. These may be stocks that aren’t associated with exceptional growth; some may be dividend stocks.

But there’s something different about normal this time around. If it’s true (and I think it is) that the old rules no longer apply, investors need to change the way they think about bellwether stocks. Plus, let’s face it, many stocks that we might consider to be bellwether stocks have already had a bit of a vaccine rally. That means that the easy gains are gone.

With that in mind, we’ve put together this special presentation that highlights seven of what may be termed the new bellwether stocks. These are stocks that investors should be paying attention to as the economy continues to reopen.

One quality of many of these stocks is that they are either negative for 2021 or underperforming the broader market. And that means that they are likely to have a strong upside as the economy grows.

View the “7 Bellwether Stocks Signaling a Return to Normal”.