Global stocks cannot find a single direction on Wednesday as investors awaited more clarity on Sino-American trade talks and kept an eye on growing tensions between the US and North Korea.
After North Korea reportedly restored part of a missile launch site it had begun to dismantle, the US President Donald Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton has warned that the US will look at ramping up sanctions against the country.
The focus of investors is also turned to China, where the government adopted new economic stimulus measures, which include tax cuts and higher government spendings.
Asian markets recap
The main stock indices in the Asia-Pacific ended today’s trading session without a single direction.
The Chinese continental index Shanghai Composite added 47.85 points, or 1.57%, to 3,102.10 points. Hong Kong’s index Hang Seng rose nu 54.48 points, or 0.19%, to 29,016.08 points. The markets were supported by Beijing’s new economic stimulus measures, which include infrastructure spending and a 289.28 billion USD (2 trillion CNY) tax cuts.
Another major news in the investors’ focus was the release of Carlos Ghosn, who is the former chief of the Carlos-Nissan-Mitsubishi automobile alliance. The Tokyo court accepted the 1 billion JPY (9 million USD) worth of guarantee for the release of Gon, who can not leave the country.
On this background, Japan’s index Nikkei 225 dropped by 129.47 points, or 0.60%, to 21,596.81 points. The shares of Fast Retailing fell by more than 2%. The stocks of Nissan and Mitsubishi wiped out 0.20% and 0.51% of their value respectively.
In South Korea, the index Kospi declined by 0.17% to 2,175.60 points, with Samsung Electronics declining by 0.56%, recovering slightly from the bigger losses in the first hours of the session.
Australian benchmark S&P ASX 200 reported a growth of 0.75% to 6,245.60 points, as earlier was reported that the economic growth in the country slowed sharply in the second half of 2018.
Australia’s economy has grown by 0.2% in the fourth quarter of the year, with analysts’ preliminary expectations being for an increase of 0.3%. On Tuesday, Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia Philip Lowe shared his optimistic outlook for the economic downturn by the end of 2019 after the bank ended its 30th meeting, leaving key interest rates at 1.5%. Philip Lowe hopes the country’s economy will grow to 3% by the end of the year, supported by higher business investment and government spending.
European markets mid-session recap
German index DAX 30 is trading with a decrease of 29 points, or 0.25%, to 11,591.47 points at 12:00 GMT. The stocks of Evonik fell by over 1% after rising sharply the previous day on news the chemicals group had signed an agreement to sell its Methacrylates business to Advent International. The shares of Brenntag jumped by nearly 5% after the chemical distributor reported a rise in FY18 profit and said it sees further growth in a challenging environment. Dialog Semiconductor soared 6.5%, as the company reported full-year 2018 operating profit of 199.7 million USD, up 7% from prior year.
The French benchmark CAC 40 was down by 8 points, or 0.15%, at 5,289 in mid-session on Wednesday. Eurofins Scientific rose 3 percent after falling sharply on Tuesday on concerns over its corporate governance.
Britain’s FTSE 100 inched up on Wednesday as tobacco stocks surged on US FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb’s departure and DS Smith rose after its plastics division sale, while Legal & General slumped after results. The index is trading with an increase of 0.32% to 7,206.18 points at 12:00 GMT. DS Smith added 3.4% after an agreement to sell its plastics division to private equity firm Olympus Partners for an enterprise value of $585 million.
Wall Street pre-session recap
Wall Street stock index futures were lower Wednesday morning as market players remain focused on U.S.-China trade developments.
At around 07:15 a.m. ET, Dow futures fell 39 points, indicating a negative open of more than 14 points. Futures on the S&P and Nasdaq also pointed to a lower open.
On the economic front, there will be ADP employment numbers at 8.15 a.m. ET and international trade figures out at 8.30 a.m. ET.