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Global Shares Skid on Wednesday        04/01 05:51

   Global shares skidded Wednesday as reports of rising numbers of coronavirus 
cases deepened the gloom over the likely impact on the world economy.

   TOKYO (AP) -- Global shares skidded Wednesday as reports of rising numbers 
of coronavirus cases deepened the gloom over the likely impact on the world 
economy.

   France's CAC 40 slipped 3.6% to 4,241.02 in early trading, while Germany's 
DAX shed 2.9% to 9,648.42. Britain's FTSE 100 plunged 3.9% to 5,450.63 after 
major banks announced they were scrapping dividend payments, bringing their 
share prices sharply lower.

   U.S. shares were set to drift lower with Dow futures down 3.2% at 21,070.50. 
S&P 500 futures dipped 3.4% to 2,496.97.

   Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 dropped 4.5% to finish at 18,065.41. 

   The Bank of Japan's quarterly survey, or "tankan," showed sentiment among 
Japan's large manufacturers fell in the January-March period, marking the fifth 
straight quarter of decline, according to the central bank. The tankan measures 
corporate sentiment by subtracting the number of companies saying business 
conditions are negative from those responding they are positive.

   The key index, which measures sentiment among large manufacturers, fell to 
minus 8 from zero in October-December, the worst result in seven years. 
Sentiment among non-manufacturers was also dismal as the service sector, 
tourism and other businesses have also been hit hard by the outbreak.

   Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 3.6% to 5,258.60, while South Korea's Kospi 
dipped 3.9% to 1,685.46. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 2.2% to 23,085.79, while 
the Shanghai Composite edged 0.6% lower to 2,734.52.

   India's Sensex fell 4.7%. Shares also fell in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia 
and Thailand.

   On Wall Street overnight, stocks plunged, closing out their worst quarter 
since late 2008, when the S&P 500 lost 22.6%.

   The surge of coronavirus cases around the world has sent markets to 
breathtaking drops since mid-February, undercutting what had been a good start 
to the year. The virus outbreak abruptly put the clamps on the economy. 
Benchmark U.S. crude oil dropped by roughly two thirds in January-March amid 
expectations for weaker demand.

   With the number of infections still rising in most regions, "If anything, 
the worst is yet to come, and some of the world's largest emerging markets are 
still to feel the full onslaught of COVID-19," said Jeffrey Halley, senior 
market analyst with Oanda.

   Markets have cut their losses in recent weeks on hopes that massive aid from 
governments and central banks around the world can blunt the blow. The S&P 500 
was down nearly 31% for the quarter at one point, but it has climbed 15.5% 
since last Monday.

   The Fed has promised to buy as many Treasurys as it takes to get lending 
markets working smoothly after trading got snarled in markets that help 
companies borrow short-term cash to make payroll, homebuyers get mortgages and 
local governments to build infrastructure. Congress, meanwhile, approved a $2.2 
trillion rescue plan for the economy, and leaders are already discussing the 
possibility of another round of aid.

   Among the next milestones for investors is Friday's U.S. jobs report, which 
will likely show a sharp drop in payrolls. Companies soon will begin reporting 
their earnings results for the first quarter. Analysts are looking for the 
steepest drop in profits since early 2016, according to FactSet.

   The numbers may get even worse in this quarter. 

   The number of known coronavirus cases keeps rising, and the worldwide tally 
has topped 860,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States 
has the highest number in the world: more than 189,000 people.

   Most people who contract COVID-19 have mild or moderate symptoms, which can 
include fever and cough. But others, especially older adults and people with 
existing health problems may get pneumonia and need to be hospitalized. More 
than 42,000 people have died worldwide due to COVID-19, while more than 178,000 
have recovered.

   ENERGY: U.S. benchmark crude fell 26 cents to $20.22 a barrel in electronic 
trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 39 cents to $20.48 a 
barrel Tuesday. Brent crude, the international standard, lost $1.24 to $25.11 
per barrel.

   CURRENCIES: The dollar cost 107.67 Japanese yen, up from 107.52 yen on 
Tuesday. The euro fell to $1.0944 from $1.1034..


(CZ)

 
 
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