The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, Sept. 8, 2020.
The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, Sept. 8, 2020. REUTERS/Staff

European markets are providing a bright spot for investors after Tuesday’s heavy losses on Wall Street and a setback in the development of a potential COVID-19 vaccine sent Asian indices on a downward spiral earlier Wednesday.

Britain’s FTSE index is 0.7% higher at the midday mark.  The CAC-40 index in France is up 0.4%, and Germany’s DAX index is gained 0.8%.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei index lost just over one percent, while the S&P/ASX index in Australia dropped 2.1%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index finished down 0.6%, while the Shanghai Composite index lost 1.9%.  Mumbai’s Sensex was 0.4% lower, the KOSPI in South Korea closed down just over one percent, and Taiwan’s TSEC finished 0.4% lower.

Investors were shaken after Tuesday’s big selloff in all three major U.S. indices, led by the technology-heavy Nasdaq, which lost a staggering 4.1%.  Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca’s announcement that it was halting late-state trials of its experimental coronavirus vaccine after a participant became ill also rattled investors in the region.

In commodities trading, gold is selling at $1,928.60 an ounce, down 0.7%.  U.S. crude oil is selling at $37.15 per barrel, up one percent, while Brent crude, the international standard, is selling at $39.96 per barrel, up 0.4%.

Meanwhile, the Dow Jones, S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are all trending higher in futures trading ahead of Wall Street’s opening bell.