November 26, 2022

TOKYO – Global stocks rose for most of Monday as investors weighed uncertainties such as the US midterm elections and China’s possible moves to ease coronavirus restrictions.

Oil prices fell and US futures fell.

France’s CAC 40 was down 0.4% to 6,391.90 in early trade, while Germany’s DAX was up nearly 0.1% to 13,470.68. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose almost 0.1% to 7,340.85. The Dow Industrials futures slipped 0.1%, while the S&P 500 futures rose 0.2%.

China reported that its trade contracted in October as global demand slowed and antivirus controls weighed on domestic consumer spending. Exports fell 0.3% year-on-year, compared with September’s 5.7% growth, the customs agency reported on Monday. Imports fell 0.7% compared to the previous month’s 0.3% expansion.

Economists have forecast trade in the world’s second-largest economy to slow as global demand for rate hikes by the Federal Reserve and other central banks to curb rising inflation cools.

Markets have been heavily impacted by speculation about a possible relaxation of China’s zero-COVID strategy. On Monday, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 2.7% to 16,595.91 and the Shanghai Composite rose 0.2% to 3,077.85.

In China, there was no official confirmation of a major change.

“Over the weekend, Beijing dashed hopes of a China reopening on the horizon by reaffirming zero-COVID policies. And this could prompt renewed caution,” said Tan Boon Heng of Singapore-based Mizuho Bank in a report.

In the US, Tuesday’s election will determine control of Congress and key governorships. History suggests that the party in power could suffer significant losses in the midterm elections, and decades of inflation have become a major concern for Democrats.

Analysts say regional markets may wait ahead of US midterm vote.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 1.2% to close at 27,527.64. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.6% to 6,933.70. South Korea’s Kospi was up nearly 1.0% to 2,371.79.

Stocks rose in Taiwan but fell in India.

In energy trading, the US crude index fell $1.02 to $91.59 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, fell 86 cents to $97.71 a barrel.

In forex trading, the US dollar rose to 147.17 Japanese yen from 146.92 yen. The euro rose from 99.60 cents to 99.61 cents.

Credit: AP/Eugene Hoshiko