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Global Stocks Sink on Friday           01/22 05:49

   Global stock markets and U.S. futures retreated Friday after a resurgence of 
coronavirus infections in China and a rise in cases in Southeast Asia.

   BEIJING (AP) -- Global stock markets and U.S. futures retreated Friday after 
a resurgence of coronavirus infections in China and a rise in cases in 
Southeast Asia.

   London and Frankfurt opened lower and Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo declined.

   Optimism about the rollout of coronavirus vaccines was dented by a spike in 
infections in China, where the disease had been under control. The government 
is testing millions of people in Beijing and some other cities. Authorities 
have called on the public to avoid travel during February's Lunar New Year 
holiday.

   That has "raised some concerns among investors who, after a slow start to 
the global vaccine rollout, are debating how fast economies can vaccinate the 
most vulnerable and start returning to business as usual," said Stephen Innes 
of Axi in a report.

   In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London fell 0.5% to 6,680.13 and the DAX 
in Frankfurt retreated 0.5% to 13,834.85. The CAC 40 in France shed 0.6% to 
5,557.42.

   On Wall Street, futures for the benchmark S&P 500 index and Dow Jones 
Industrial Average were off 0.5%.

   On Thursday, the S&P 500 ended up less than 0.1% after a day of chopping 
trading. The Dow lost less than 0.1%.

   The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite climbed 0.6% to 13,530.91 after traders bid 
up shares in Big Tech stocks, including Apple, Amazon and Facebook.

   In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index declined 0.4% to 3,606.75 and the 
Nikkei 225 in Tokyo sank 0.4% to 28,631.45. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 
1.6% to 29,447.85.

   The Kospi in South Korea, where the increase in virus cases has slowed, fell 
0.6% to 3,140.63.

   The S&P-ASX 200 in Sydney shed 0.3% to 6,800.40. India's Sensex retreated 
1.1% to 49,052.61. New Zealand advanced 1.7% while Singapore and Indonesia 
declined.

   Stocks have risen on optimism vaccines developed by U.S., European and 
Chinese drug companies would allow economies to return to normal.

   Markets also have been encouraged by the inauguration of President Joe 
Biden, who proposed a $1.9 trillion economic aid package, including $1,600 cash 
payments for most Americans.

   Those hopes have been jolted by an upsurge in infections and the emergence 
of new virus variants that might be more infectious.

   China, where the pandemic began in late 2019, has reimposed travel controls 
after outbreaks in Beijing and other cities. The government is building 
isolation hospitals with thousands of beds in Hebei province, which abuts the 
capital.

   On Friday, China reported 103 new infections, the 11th day with more than 
100 confirmed cases.

   "The resurgence of cases in China, namely in the largest cities of Beijing 
and Shanghai, ahead of the Chinese New Year holidays is a cause of concern," 
said Mizuho Bank in a report.

   The Chinese government has called on the public to avoid gatherings and 
travel during the Lunar New Year holiday, normally the year's most important 
family event. That is likely to dent spending on gifts, banquets and tourism, 
but economists say industrial activity might benefit if employees stay at their 
jobs.

   Deaths are rising in Indonesia while case numbers increase in Malaysia, 
Thailand and the Philippines.

   Benchmark U.S. crude lost 78 cents to $52.35 per barrel in electronic 
trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 11 cents on 
Thursday to $53.13. Brent crude, the price standard for international oils, 
shed 69 cents to $55.41 per barrel in London. It rose 2 cents the previous 
session to $56.10 a barrel.

   The dollar strengthened to 103.65 yen from Thursday's 103.52. The euro 
advanced to $1.2176 from $1.2160.

 
 
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