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Global stocks take a hit as Covid cases spike in China

Despite strong Chinese retail sales report, investor sentiment turns weaker as Russian forces pounded Ukraine capital; Germany's DAX, Paris’ CAC 40, Britain's FTSE 100, Nasdaq and futures of S&P-500 and Dow industrials were down; Hong Kong stocks at 6-year lows after the lockdown imposed in neighbouring city of Shenzhen; Selling across the board in Tokyo, Seoul, Australia, Taiwan, Bangkok

Global stocks take a hit as Covid cases spike in China

Global stocks take a hit as Covid cases spike in China

Bangkok: World share prices have fallen, with Hong Kong down almost six per cent and Shanghai sinking five per cent as virus lockdowns and rising numbers of Covid cases in China threaten to disrupt manufacturing and trade.

"Markets appear to have been trafficking in an odd mix of hope, fear and uncertainty," Mizuho Bank said in a commentary. "Fears continue to dog stock markets that lockdowns could spread, which would severely impact China's growth," Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary.

The sell-off gathered pace late in the session despite the release of data showing strong increases in Chinese retail sales, industrial production and investment in January-February. It followed a decision by China's central bank not to ease interest rates to spur economic growth. Prices of oil and other commodities slid as Russian forces pounded the Ukraine capital ahead of another round of talks between the two sides.

Germany's DAX lost 2.3% to 13,612.44 and the CAC 40 in Paris was also 2.3% lower at 6,223.67. Britain's FTSE 100 declined 1.5% to 7,088.89. The futures for the S&P 500 and Dow industrials were down 0.7%.

Shares in Hong Kong have sunk to near six-year lows after the neighbouring city of Shenzhen was ordered into a shutdown to combat China's worst Covid-19 outbreak in two years. The Hang Seng index lost 5.7% to 18,415.08 after wobbling more than 6% lower. The Shanghai Composite gave up 5% to 3,063.97.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 rose 0.2% to 25,346.48, while the Kospi in Seoul gave up 0.9% to 2,621.53. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 slid 0.7% to 7,097.40 and shares also fell in Taiwan and Bangkok.

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