Gold surges, Asian stocks mixed amid US-China feud, pandemic

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A man wearing a face mask and a shield walks past a bank's electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index at Hong Kong Stock Exchange Monday, July 27, 2020. Asian stock markets were mixed Monday amid U.S.-China tension and concern a recovery from the coronavirus pandemic might be weakening. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

BEIJING: Global stock markets were mixed and gold surged to a record price Monday amid US-China tension and concern a recovery from the coronavirus pandemic might be weakening. London, Tokyo and Hong Kong declined while Frankfurt and Shanghai advanced. US stock futures were higher.

Wall Street ended last week down after a new diplomatic flare-up between Washington and Beijing and mixed earnings reports. Global markets have regained most of this year’s losses but forecasters warn the rebound might be too big and too early as virus case numbers rise in the United States and some other economies.

Weak stock prices speak volumes of soured risk appetite amid escalating US-China risks, worsening virus outbreaks and a flagging recovery, said Hayaki Narita of Mizuho Bank in a report. In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London declined 0.1% to 6,117.51 while the DAX in Frankfurt advanced 0.5% to 12,898.10. The CAC 40 in France was off less than 0.1% at 4,953.

Gold jumped 41.80 to a record 1,939.30 per ounce in a sign investors were looking for safe havens to park money. On Wall Street, futures for the benchmark S&P 500 index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.4%.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.3% to close at 3,205.23 after swinging between gains and losses. The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo lost 0.2% to 22,715.85 while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong retreated 0.4% to 24,603.26.

The Kospi in Seoul advanced 0.8% to 2,217.86 and Australia’s S&P-ASX 200 gained 0.3% to 6,044.20. India’s Sensex lost 0.2% to 38,047.55. New Zealand and Singapore declined while Jakarta rose. Investors were rattled by the latest U.S.-Chinese diplomatic feud. The Trump administration told Beijing last week to close its consulate in Houston. China responded by ordering the closure of the U.S. consulate in the southwestern city of Chengdu.

That adds to strains over trade, technology, Hong Kong and human rights that have sent relations between the two biggest global economies plunging to their lowest level in decades. Investors also are worried about a rise in US layoffs as spiking coronavirus infections lead more businesses to shut down. Extra unemployment benefits expire this week. Congress has yet to agree on more economic aid.

In energy markets, benchmark US crude lost 7 cents to 41.21 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 22 cents on Friday to settle at 41.29. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 16 cents to 43.62 per barrel in London.

The dollar declined to 105.49 yen from Friday’s 105.97. The euro declined to 1.1711 from 1.1766. (AP)

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