TOKYO (AP) — Shares pushed higher Friday despite a sell-off in China that pushed Shanghai’s benchmark down 6.4 percent. Relief over the Federal Reserve’s stance on putting off an interest rate hike appeared to be offsetting worries over the stalemate in talks on Greece’s debt mess.
KEEPING SCORE: Germany’s DAX gained 0.7 percent to 11,180.52 and Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.2 percent at 6,719.14. France’s CAC40 climbed 0.6 percent to 4,833.97. U.S. markets seemed ready for more gains after Thursday’s advance. Dow futures were up 0.1 percent while S&P futures were flat.
CHINA JITTERS: Chinese shares have backed away from recent peaks on worries that a bubble may be building in equity markets. A flurry of IPOs is accentuating concerns over liquidity. Meanwhile, the government’s moves to curb risks from margin trading are also weighing on sentiment. Real estate shares were among the hardest hit, though the Shanghai Composite Index has still gained nearly 4.6 percent in the past month.
THE QUOTE: Chinese shares have risen 140 percent over 12 months and around 50 percent year-to-date so “volatility is to be expected as it has risen a bit too far too fast,” Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy and chief economist at AMP Capital, said in a commentary. “The easy gains are probably over and a period of correction would be healthy.”
THAILAND SCARE: Public health officials confirmed that dozens of people were under observation after a 75-year-old man who travelled to Bangkok from Oman for treatment of a heart ailment was confirmed to have the MERS virus. The Middle East respiratory syndrome has killed 24 people and sickened more than 160 in South Korea in the biggest outbreak outside the region where it was first identified in 2012. Thailand’s SET index slipped 0.6 percent to 1,498.37.
JAPAN POLICY: The Bank of Japan announced as expected no change in its ultra-loose monetary policy, which is meant to push inflation higher and spur growth.
GREEK DRAMA: Investors were monitoring events in Europe, where Greece and its international lenders are deadlocked in bailout talks and an emergency summit meeting is planned for next week. Greece needs more loans from its creditors before June 30, when its current bailout program expires and a 1.6 billion euro ($1.8 billion) debt repayment is due. Greece and its creditors blame one another for an impasse in the talks. A default could result in Greece leaving the euro currency bloc, dealing a blow to the project.
ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.9 percent to 20,174.24 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 1.1 percent to 26,984.05. South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.3 percent to 2,046.96 and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 jumped 1.3 percent to 5,597.00. The Shanghai Composite Index tumbled 6.4 percent to 4,478.36 and the smaller Shenzhen Composite Index lost 5.9 percent to 2,742.18.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 123.08 yen from 123.04 yen on Thursday. The euro fell to $1.1332 from $1.1371.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 28 cents to $60.17 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 53 cents to close at $60.45 a barrel in New York on Thursday. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oil used by many U.S. refineries, gained 2 cents to $64.28.