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Global Shares Drop on Thursday         01/28 05:52

   Global shares skidded on Thursday as a reality check set in about longtime 
economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic, giving Wall Street its worst day 
since October.

   TOKYO (AP) -- Global shares skidded on Thursday as a reality check set in 
about longtime economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic, giving Wall 
Street its worst day since October.

   France's CAC 40 slipped 0.7% in early trading to 5,422.70, while Germany's 
DAX dropped 1.2% to 13,463.25. Britain's FTSE 100 was down 1.6% at 6,460.34. 
U.S. shares were set to extend lossses, with Dow futures trading at 30,068.0, 
down 0.4%. The S&P 500 future contract slipped 0.8% to 3,716.12.

   Benchmarks in Japan, South Korea, Australia and China declined Thursday. The 
region is looking ahead to earnings season for a read on how companies are 
faring amid COVID-19 infections, which have been relatively low in some nations 
such as New Zealand, compared to other global regions.

   Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 1.5% to finish at 28,197.42. Australia's 
S&P/ASX 200 slipped 1.9% to 6,649.70. South Korea's Kospi sank 1.7% to 
3,069.05. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 2.6% to 28,550.77, while the Shanghai 
Composite shed 1.9% to 3,505.18.

   "Investors will likely focus on the pace of vaccinations around the globe 
while also keeping an eye on the progress of President Biden's fiscal rescue 
plan that may be facing some roadblocks in the U.S. Senate," Prakash Sakpal and 
Nicholas Mapa, senior economists at ING, said in a report.

   Hopes are high for President Joe Biden's proposed a $1.9 trillion 
COVID-relief package, but worries are growing the plan might also be scaled 

   Vaccine rollouts have not progressed in Asia as quickly as they have in the 
West, and worries are growing about a tug-of-war for the products from Pfizer, 
Moderna and AstraZeneca. Aside from China, which has its own vaccine, 
inoculations have not started on a mass scale in Asia, although approvals have 
either been granted or are on their way in most places, including Australia and 

   Outbreaks persist and have grown in some places such as Japan, where a third 
wave is claiming more lives at a much faster pace than last year, at more than 
5,000 so far. Daily deaths had been mostly in single-digit figures until 
recently, but are now surpassing 100 people a day.

   Adding to caution, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday it would keep its low 
interest rate policies in place, but it also released a sobering assessment of 
the gradual recovery ahead.

   Some analysts said the selling was at least partly a reaction to outsized 
moves in GameStop, AMC Entertainment and select other previously beaten-down 
stocks that have notched massive gains in recent days after gaining favor with 
an online community of individual investors.

   Investors are also focusing on company earnings. More than 100 companies in 
the S&P 500 are scheduled to tell investors this week how they fared during the 
last three months of 2020.

   Markets had been meandering near record highs since last week as investors 
weighed solid corporate earnings results against renewed worries that troubles 
with COVID-19 vaccine rollouts and the spread of new variants of coronavirus 
might delay a recovery from the pandemic.

   "The real economy isn't reflective of what's happening in financial markets 
and there really is a disconnect there," said Charlie Ripley, senior investment 
strategist for Allianz Investment Management.

   In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude lost 39 cents to $52.46 a barrel in 
electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It picked up 24 cents 
to $52.85 per barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude, the international standard, 
fell 32 cents to $55.49 a barrel.

   In currency trading, the U.S. dollar rose to 104.33 Japanese yen from 104.12 
yen. The euro cost $1.2096, inching down from $1.2112.

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