Global Shares Rise as Investors Brace for Hit

Shares rose Tuesday in Europe and Asia on Tuesday though investors were bracing for news on how the coronavirus pandemic has hurt corporate earnings and the Chinese economy, The Associated Press reported.

France’s CAC 40 edged 0.3% higher in early trading to 4,521.81, while Germany’s DAX gained 1.1% to 10,675.93. Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 0.8% to 5,795.47. U.S. shares were set for gains, with the future for the Dow industrials up 1.1% at 23,565.50. S&P 500 futures gained 0.9% to 2,783.88.

“European stock markets are off to a decent start again on Tuesday, as the long bank holiday weekend produced some encouraging numbers that suggest many countries are now on a more positive trajectory,” Craig Erlam, senior market analyst with Oanda, said of the panedmic and its economic impact.

Data released on Tuesday showed China’s exports fell at a slower pace in March than in the previous two months. Forecasters also warned of harder times ahead as the coronavirus pandemic depresses global demand and disrupts production, supply chains and finance, AP noted.

“In our baseline scenario, world trade falls 9% this year, but in a ‘worst case’ scenario, the fall is 34%. Maintaining global value chains is likely to become more challenging and costly as protectionism increases, but is also a way of managing risks,” ING said in a commentary.

China is due to announce economic growth for the first quarter on Friday, and a raft of potentially dismal corporate earnings also are in the pipeline, AP added.

However, the mood in Asia was upbeat. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 added 3.1% to finish at 19,638.81. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 1.9% to 5,488.10, while South Korea’s Kospi jumped 1.7% to 1,857.08. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng edged 0.6% higher to 24,435.40, and the Shanghai Composite added 1.6% to 2,827.28.

Cautious optimism that the outbreak in the U.S. has begun to plateau in some of the worst-hit areas and another big infusion of economic support by the Federal Reserve helped spur a big rally last week.

Stocks could be in for more volatility as companies report results for the first quarter, though analysts will be focusing mainly on forecasts for the rest of the year, AP added.

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