Global stocks were trading mixed on Friday as a resurgence in Russian attacks dashed hopes for a quick end to the war in Ukraine.
France’s CAC 40 added nearly 0.2% in early trading to 6,670.87, while Germany’s DAX rose 0.2% to 14,439.41. Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 0.3% to 7,540.21. Dow Jones and S&P 500 futures were up 0.4%.
The Bank of Japan’s closely watched quarterly indicator of business sector sentiment, the “tankan”, showed the benchmark indicator for major manufacturers fell for the first time in seven quarters, losing three points from compared to a December survey at 14 points to 17 points.
The war in Ukraine, on top of major manufacturers’ supply chain disruptions caused by COVID-19 restrictions and growing concerns about inflation, especially soaring energy costs, casts a shadow over prospects for the already fragile growth of the world’s third largest economy.
The war is the most important factor weighing on the markets, according to analysts. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed pessimism about Russian intentions and said in his overnight video address to the nation that he expected the Russian offensive to continue for some time.
“As we head into the weekend break, optimism for a ceasefire in the geopolitical dispute continues to fade overnight,” said Yeap Jun Rong, market strategist at IG. in Singapore.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped 0.6% to end at 27,665.98.
Shares of electronics and energy giant Toshiba Corp. jumped 6.5% on news that Bain Capital may make an offer to acquire the company and take it private. Toshiba said it was not involved in such discussions.
The South Korean Kospi fell 0.7% to 2,739.85. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 edged down less than 0.1% to 7,493.80. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.2% to 22,039.55, while the Shanghai Composite jumped 0.9% to 3,282.72.
Rising COVID-19 cases in China add to concerns of a regional slowdown. The lockdown in Shanghai has entered its second phase of extended restrictions, while restrictions have been lifted in hard-hit Jilin.
Oil prices fell when President Joe Biden ordered the release of up to 1 million barrels of oil a day from the country’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The move to pump more oil into the market is part of an effort to control energy prices, which have risen nearly 40% globally this year.
Benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.08 to $99.20 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 7% on Thursday. Brent, the international price standard, fell 69 cents to $104.02 a barrel.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has raised fears that tighter supply could only worsen lingering inflation that threatens businesses and consumers around the world.
Thursday on Wall Street, the S&P 500 lost 1.6%. It is down nearly 5% since the start of the year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also fell 1.6%, while the Nasdaq composite lost 1.5%. The Russell 2000 Index fell 1% to 2,070.13.
Investors received a lukewarm update on the labor market on Thursday. More Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, but layoffs remain at historic lows. Wall Street will get a fuller report on Friday when the Labor Department releases jobs data for March.
In currency trading, the US dollar fell from 121.69 yen to 122.56 Japanese yen. The euro traded at $1.1074, down from $1.1071 previously.
AP Business Writers Damian J. Troise and Alex Veiga contributed.