Global stocks are trading mixed on Thursday as global growth worries persisted, while confirmation of a Brexit extension failed to ignite a relief rally for the pound.
The European Central Bank and Federal Reserve both flagged a high degree of uncertainty over the economic outlook on Wednesday, as growth jitters continue to plague the world economy. The minutes of the Fed’s March monetary policy meeting showed officials’ outlook on monetary policy could “shift in either direction”.
A key topic in the focus of investors was the new extension of Brexit deadline. The EU leaders gave the British Prime Minister Theresa May a new deadline for Brexit – October 31st. This is four months longer than the postponement, which she asked from Brussels (June 30th).
The EU decision was taken only a day before the date the United Kingdom had to leave the bloc without an agreement on their futures relations.
On the other hand, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the US and China have reached a preliminary agreement on how to control the possible trade agreement between the two countries. He stressed that the administration of US President Donald Trump currently does not intend to set arbitrary deadlines in which the consultations must end.
Asian markets recap
Most Asian stock indexes declined on Thursday amid the Brexit extension to October 31, which was granted by the European Union (EU).
In China, the mainland index Shanghai Composite fell by 51.87 points, or 1.60%, to 3,190.06 points. The Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng wiped out 233.32 points, or 0.77%, ending the day at 29,886.24 points. The consumer inflation in the country accelerated to a five-month high due to the appreciation of some food products such as vegetables and pork. The main CPI, excluding food and energy, remained unchanged at 1.8%, and production inflation accelerated by 0.4%.
In Japan, the blue-chip index Nikkei 225 rose by 0.11% to 21,711.38 points. The shares of the robotics company Fanuc fell by more than 0.4%.
In South Korea, the index Kospi finished the session with a minimum growth of 0.05 points.
In Australia, local S&P ASX 200 declined by 24.80 points, or 0.40%, to 6,198.70 points. Earlier today, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that parliamentary elections in the country will be held on May 18th.
European mid-session recap
German stocks recovered after early losses and are trading slightly into the green. DAX 30 inched higher by 22 points, or 0.19%, to 11,928.12 points at 11:15 GMT, after earlier falling to a daily low of 11,850.25 points. The impulse came from the carmakers, which led the uptrend with the stocks of Volkswagen and Daimler rising by 0.88% and 0.42% respectively. The news that Volkswagen wants to buy a major share of the Chinese JAC Motors, gave wings to the sector. The stocks of SAP, BASF, and Deutsche Bank were also on the rise, adding up to 1% at mid-session.
The French index CAC 40 is up by 0.56% to 5,480.66 points. The stocks of Airbus jumped by 1.4% after Frenchman Guillaume Faury took over as CEO of European aerospace giant on Wednesday. The stocks of automakers are on the rise with Renault adding 0.2%, while Peugeot growing by 1.9%.
British blue-chip index FTSE 100 compensated the earlier losses and climbed back to green, adding 0.02% to 7,423.64 points at 11:15 GMT. The risks of a global economic slowdown dragged mining shares lower and insurers fell on ex-dividend trading, while housebuilders and airlines gained after a second Brexit delay. Precious metals mining company Fresnillo shed 2% after its quarterly production fell, though it stuck to output targets for the year. Luxury brand Burberry added 1.5% and outperformed the main index French peer LVMH reported results that beat forecasts.
Wall Street pre-session recap
Wall Street stock index futures pointed to a slightly higher start to the trading day Thursday as investors digested minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting.
At 6:35 a.m. E.T., Dow futures pointed to a rise of about 29 points at the open. Futures for Nasdaq and S&P 500 were little changed, slightly into the green.
The markets will focus on the weekly jobless numbers and a producer price index, expected at 8:30 a.m. ET.