World stocks extend losses after Wall Street falls

BANGKOK (AP) — Stocks in Europe and Asia fell Thursday after Wall Street’s benchmark fell more than 1% in a mostly quiet and holiday-shortened week.

U.S. futures were mixed, with oil down more than $1 a barrel.

Investors are watching how China’s easing of its strict COVID-19 policies and the ensuing infection outbreak will affect business activity and travel.

One concern is that large-scale outbreaks could produce new, potentially vaccine-resistant variants of the virus, “leading to chain-link virus surges around the world, and given past global attempts, China’s reopening remains likely in the long run.” Marks a positive step. Controlling virus cases,” said IG’s Yean Jun Rong in a commentary.

Germany’s DAX fell 0.3 percent to 13,887.22 and Paris’ CAC 40 fell 0.5 percent to 6,480.47. Britain’s FTSE 100 index fell 0.6 percent to 7,452.45.

S&P 500 futures edged up 0.1%, while Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell less than 0.1%. On Wednesday, the S&P 500 fell 1.2 percent and the Dow lost 1.1 percent. The Nasdaq fell 1.4 percent, while the Russell 2000 lost 1.6 percent.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.8% to 19,741.14 in Asian trading on Thursday. The Shanghai Composite Index closed down 0.4 percent at 3,073.70. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index fell 0.9 percent to 26,093.67.

Seoul’s Kospi index fell 1.9% to 2,236.40 after the government reported that South Korea’s industrial production fell 3.7% in November from a year earlier, worse than expected and larger than October’s 1.2% drop. Retail sales fell 1.8% from the previous month.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.9 percent to 7,020.10. The Bangkok SET index rose 0.2 percent.

The worst year for the S&P 500 since 2008 is over, with little data to fuel the trade. But later on Thursday, the U.S. government is to report initial jobless claims, a measure of employment that can provide insight into how the economy is doing as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates to curb inflation.

The Fed has raised key interest rates seven times this year and is expected to continue raising rates in 2023. The key lending rate, known as the federal funds rate, is in a range of 4.25% to 4.5%, and Fed policymakers forecast that rate will reach a range of 5% to 5.25% by the end of 2023. Their forecasts do not call for a rate cut before 2024.

With two days to go in 2022, the benchmark S&P 500 is set to drop about 20% this year, even as profits and margins at companies in the index hit record highs this year. The Dow is on track for a 9.5% drop, while the Nasdaq is faring even worse, poised for a 34.7% drop.

Southwest Airlines fell 5.2% on Wednesday as the carrier grapples with the fallout after canceling thousands of flight cancellations. The airline’s chief executive said flight schedules could return to normal next week. Shares of other airlines also fell. Delta Air Lines fell 2.8 percent and United Airlines fell 2.4 percent.

Tesla shares rose 3.3%, stabilizing from steep losses on Tuesday following reports that production at one of its Shanghai factories was temporarily suspended.

U.S. benchmark crude fell $1.40 to $77.56 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange early Thursday.

Brent crude, the pricing basis for international trades, fell $1.50 to $82.49 a barrel in London.

The dollar fell to 133.72 yen from 134.39 yen late Wednesday. The euro rose to $1.0636 from $1.0613.

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