Globally the stocks are moving higher on Friday after media reports suggested that Chinese authorities are getting ready to implement more extensive stimulus measures in a bid to support growth.
The upside, however, remains limited as the investors’ moods have been affected by the weak US economic data that pushed the US stock market indices into red territory on Thursday. The United States reported a decline in a number of economic indicators, such as the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Business Index, long-term commodities orders, the Purchasing Managers’ Index, and the Consumer Confidence Index.
Moreover, Germany’s economy stagnated in the final three months of the year, thus narrowly avoiding a technical recession. The GDP was unchanged from the third quarter when the economy shrank by 0.2%. That was in line with the preliminary estimate released on February 14.
Asian markets recap
Asian stock indexes ended the last session of the week on green territory amid weak US economic data.
On the Chinese markets, the continental index Shanghai Composite managed to rise by 1.91% to 2,804.23 points, while the Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng added 156.35 points, or 0.55%, to its value and ended the day at a level of 28,786.27 points.
The main index of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, Nikkei 225, declined by 0.18% to 21,425.51 points. The shares of the retailer FamilyMart Uny declined by 0.95%.
In South Korea, the index Kospi added 0.08% to its value, ending the session at 2,230.50 points. The stocks of Samsung Electronics rose by 0.43%.
Australian S&P ASX 200 reported growth of 28.10 points to 6,167.30 points.
Investors followed developments around Thursday’s news of five Chinese ports controlled by Dalyan Customs, which banned the import of coal from Australia and caused further shocks in the diplomatic relations between the two countries.
One of the most likely reasons for the decision is the Australian ban on the use of Huawei’s 5G networks equipment. On this background, the shares of Australian coal companies New Hope Corporation and Yancoal Australia declined by 3.55% and 2.8% respectively, while BHP Billiton shares fell by 0.42%.
On the other hand, one of the largest banks in Singapore OCBC said it expects a slowdown in the Chinese economy’s growth to hit the growth of its consumer loans. Singapore’s second-largest bank, which announced a 9% increase in consumer loans in 2018, expects growth to be significantly moderate in 2019 due to worsened economic data from China.
European markets mid-session recap
German index DAX 30 is on the rise by 74 points, or 0.65%, to 11,497.33 points at 11:00 GMT. The banks Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank were moving higher after Germany changed labor laws to lure financial institutions unsettled by Brexit to Frankfurt. Utility RWE edged down slightly, as the company announced that expects to win EU antitrust approval for the purchase of the renewable energy assets of E.ON and Innogy. The hospital operator Rhoen-Klinikum rose by 0.7% after its fiscal 2018 net consolidated profit increased 39.5% from last year.
The French index CAC 40 was up by 30 points, or 0.58%, to 5,226.18 during mid-session trading on Friday. The IT services and consulting firm Sopra Steria jumped by 15% after unveiling its full-year results. Saint Gobain dropped by 1.4% after the construction materials group suffered a slump in annual net profit, hit by asset impairments due to economic uncertainty. The car parts maker Valeo wiped out 0.6% after its 2018 net attributable income declined by 38%.
British stocks rose slightly on Friday and the British pound declined slightly. The blue-chip index FTSE 100 rose by 0.4% to 7,195.38 points at 11:00 GMT. The shares of Inspiration Healthcare Group plunged nearly 6% after the medical device company said it expects flat profit before tax and revenues for fiscal 2019. The non-Standard Finance soared 6% as it announced the terms of a firm offer to acquire the entire issued share capital of Provident Financial plc. Kingspan Group rallied 2.4% after posting strong growth in 2018 profits. Merlin Entertainments dropped by 1.3%. The company has announced the sale of its Australian ski resorts, Hotham and Falls Creek, to Vail Resorts, Inc.
Wall Street pre-session recap
Wall Street stock futures were higher on the final trading day of the week, as market participants closely monitor trade talks between the world’s two largest economies.
At around 6:25 a.m. ET, Dow futures indicated a positive open of more than 114 points. S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures were also on increase with an indicated positive open by 10 points and 30 points, respectively.
A flurry of speeches from Fed policymakers are due throughout the day, with New York Fed President John Williams, San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly, Philadelphia Fed Chairman Patrick Harker and St. Louis Fed President James Bullard expected to speak on the US economy and monetary policy at separate events.