TOKYO: Passers-by are reflected on the electric bulletin board showing the foreign exchange rate, including Yen rate against the US dollar (top) in Tokyo.-AFP

LONDON: European stock markets slid yesterday, despite bumper Asian gains, as a surge of the coronavirus Delta variant fanned fresh fears about the global economic recovery. "The source of uncertainty is almost entirely due to the resilience of COVID and virus-related restrictions which have negatively impacted the global economy recovery," noted ThinkMarkets analyst Fawad Razaqzada.

"Global stock markets have been struggling across the world in recent days, although the selling has been limited for the European and US indices thus far." Approaching midday, London shares were down half a percentage point, as traders also digested a sharp slowdown in UK inflation. Elsewhere, Frankfurt stocks dipped 0.1 percent and Paris shed 0.4 percent in early afternoon eurozone deals, after overnight losses on Wall Street. Asian indices however rallied on Wednesday as investors went fishing for bargain shares. Oil prices rebounded, snapping a four-day slump on news of strong US crude demand.

The dollar traded mixed before publication of minutes from the US Federal Reserve's most recent monetary policy gathering. Investors fretted over a fresh lockdown in New Zealand and a curfew imposed in Australia's second-largest city of Melbourne over a Delta outbreak. That fuelled fresh virus concerns along with travel restrictions in China, the world's second-largest economy. A lackluster US retail sales report also exacerbated worries about the latest COVID-19 wave, bringing Wall Street's streak of five straight records for the Dow and S&P 500 indices to a stuttering halt. But Asian markets appeared unmoved by gloomy prospects, with Tokyo snapping a four-day losing streak to close higher Wednesday.

Hong Kong also closed on a high, with investors seemingly broadly unfazed by new antitrust plans from Beijing designed to rein in China's burgeoning tech giants -- plans that saw Chinese firms listed on Wall Street slide overnight. In China, markets were well up, recouping losses after disappointing economic data from Beijing earlier in the week. Seoul rose, while Australia was steady. New Zealand also made gains despite fears over fresh virus cases as the country's Reserve Bank chose to keep interest rates unchanged. -AFP