• Lebanon - Beirut
  • January 20, 2021
Currency traders watch monitors at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
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TOKYO (AP) — Global shares slipped Monday on renewed caution despite a record high finish on Wall Street last week driven by hopes for a COVID-19 vaccine and relief for the global economy.

France’s CAC 40 fell 0.6% to 5,563.63 in early trading, while Germany’s DAX shed 0.2% to 13,308.11. Britain’s FTSE 100 dipped 0.3% to 6,350.81. U.S. shares were also set to decline as Dow futures dropped 0.9% to 29,608. S&P 500 futures fell 0.7% to 3,612.38.

In a news conference after Tokyo trading ended, Koichiro Miyahara, the head of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, announced he was resigning to take responsibility for a massive system glitch that shut down trading last month. The full-day outage on Oct. 1 was the worst ever for the world’s third largest exchange.

Japan Exchange Group, or JPX, the exchange’s parent, said it had accepted his resignation over the error that disabled the system called Arrowhead.

Trading resumed as normal the following day after repairs of malfunctioning computer systems. There was no sign the outage resulted from hacking or other cybersecurity breaches.

Akira Kiyota, JPX’s CEO, will take Miyahara’s place, the company said in a statement.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 dipped 0.8% to finish at 26,433.62, as markets throughout the region shed early gains. South Korea’s Kospi lost 1.6% to 2,591.34. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slipped 1.3% to 6,517.80. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng edged down 2.0% to 26,361.96, while the Shanghai Composite slipped 0.5% to 3,391.76.

Stephen Innes, chief global market strategist at Axi, noted that despite ups and downs investors are looking toward the arrival of vaccines for a gradual return to business as usual.

“Vaccines offer the promise that the major disruptions of the pandemic will fade from the scene in 2021. Economic life will gradually heal; the world will start to move on from all the human suffering that the virus has wrought,” said Innes.

One bit of encouraging news for the region came in the purchasing managers’ index, or PMI, for China’s manufacturing sector, which showed the nation where the pandemic all started continues to recover, with its manufacturing sector growing.

Positive developments on the vaccine front have investors looking forward to progress in gaining control over the pandemic that plunged the global economy into its deepest slump since the 1930s. That optimism persisted last week even as one vaccine candidate suffered a setback and cases of coronavirus remain high around the world.

The University of Oxford and AstraZeneca have released positive test results about their vaccine. Hopes for a vaccine have offset concerns about spiking coronavirus cases in the U.S. and other parts of the world. U.S. states and European governments are re-imposing controls on business and travel as infection rates surge.

Worries are also growing in Asia, including Japan and South Korea, about another wave of infections. Tokyo is reporting several hundred new cases a day, often setting new records. The disease has killed more than 1.4 million people worldwide, according to data gathered by Johns Hopkins University.

The OPEC nations, led by Saudi Arabia, will be meeting virtually on Monday to decide, once again, how much oil their members should produce as lockdowns related to the coronavirus stifle demand for crude. They’re expected to extend production cuts well into the new year, in an effort to boost volatile oil prices.

The group has to reach agreement among its member countries and the additional members in the group known as OPEC Plus, which is led by Russia.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude lost 82 cents to $44.71 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, fell $1.01 to $47.17 a barrel.

The U.S. dollar inched up to 104.14 Japanese yen from 104.07 yen. The euro cost $1.1969, up from $1.1962.

(By YURI KAGEYAMA / AP)

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