Markets Mixed in Face of Economic, Political Turmoil

European markets are mixed Monday as investors pull back in response to last week’s dismal U.S. retail figures, along with the worsening COVID-19 pandemic and the aftermath of the January 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol building.   
Britain’s FTSE index is down 0.3% at midday.  France’s CAC-40 index is also 0.3% lower, while the DAX index in Germany is up 10 points but unchanged percentage-wise (+0.08%).   
Asian markets began the trading week on a downward spiral hours earlier.  Japan’s benchmark Nikkei index fell 0.9%.  Australia’s S&P/ASX index closed down 0.7%.  The KOSPI index in South Korea plunged 2.3%, while Taiwan’s TSEC lost just over 4 points, but was virtually unchanged percentage-wise (0.03%) and the Sensex in Mumbai was down 0.9%.
Shanghai’s Composite index closed 0.8% higher and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose just over one percent, spurred by news that China’s economy grew 2.3% in 2020, overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic that has shattered much of the global economy.   
In commodities trading, gold is up 0.1%, selling at $1,831.80.  U.S. crude oil is selling at $52.19, down 0.3%, and Brent crude is selling at $54.82, down 0.5%.    
All three major U.S. indices are closed in observance of the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. federal  holiday.  

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