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World shares lower after Wall St rebound on U.S. growth data

BANGKOK —
World shares and U.S. futures were mostly lower Friday despite a flurry of reports showing economic recoveries from the pandemic gained pace in the last quarter.

The zone of countries using the euro saw its GDP jump 13.7% from a year earlier in the April-June quarter, according to a preliminary estimate. That followed a report Thursday showing the U.S. economy has recovered to above its pre-pandemic level.

Germany’s DAX dropped 0.8% to 15,511.92 and the CAC 40 in Paris edged 0.1% lower to 6,623.52. Britain’s FTSE 100 declined 0.8% to 7,020.61. U.S. shares looked set for a retreat, with the future contract for the S&P 500 down 0.7%. The contract for the Dow industrials fell 0.3%.

Japan also reported relatively strong economic data for the previous quarter, before the government began tightening coronavirus restrictions as cases surged.

“Retail sales, industrial production and employment all rebounded strongly in June, pointing to a sizeable recovery in activity in between the alpha- and delta-driven coronavirus waves,” Capital Economics said in a report.

However, the spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus is prompting governments to tighten pandemic restrictions in many countries.

Japanese officials have been sounding the alarm as Tokyo reported record-breaking coronavirus cases for two straight days this week, with the Olympics well under way.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 fell 1.8% to 27,283.59 while the Kospi in Seoul gave up 1.2% to 3,202.32. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong declined 1.4% to 25,961.03 and the Shanghai Composite index dropped 0.4% to 3,397.36.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 edged 0.3% lower to 7,392.60.

Shares edged higher in India but fell in Southeast Asia.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.24% from 1.27% late Thursday.

On Thursday, stocks on Wall Street bounced back from a two-day slide, placing the S&P 500 on pace for its second straight weekly gain. The S&P 500 index rose 0.4% to 4,419.15, powered by broad gains. It is just below its most recent record high.

The modest rally came as the latest government data showed continued economic growth and investors reviewed another batch of mostly positive corporate earnings reports.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.4% to 35,084.53, while the Nasdaq added 0.1%, to 14,778.26. The Dow and Nasdaq also hovered just below their record highs set on Monday.

Helping ease some concerns on Wall Street about the pace of the economic recovery, the Commerce Department said the U.S. economy grew at a solid 6.5% annual rate last quarter. That fell short of economists’ forecasts for 8.5% growth, but the economy’s total size has now surpassed its pre-pandemic level.

There also was encouraging news on the broader employment picture, which has tended to lag the rest of the recovery. Claims for unemployment benefits dropped by 24,000 to 400,000 last week, the Labor Department reported.

In other trading, U.S. benchmark crude oil lost 19 cents to US$73.43 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude oil declined 19 cents to $74.91.

The U.S. dollar rose to 109.56 Japanese yen from 109.48 yen on Thursday. The euro strengthened to $1.1903 from $1.1889.



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