Stock exchange indexes around the world cannot find single direction on Thursday after the negative sentiment of investors during Asian trade improved and turned slightly to the green.
The main topic affecting investor’s sentiment was the US-China trade talks.
The US President Donald Trump is considering to postpone the temporary truce with China and extend by 60 days the deadline for the entry into force of new, higher US duties against China, while the two largest world economies are trying to find a solution to their dispute.
Trump said on Tuesday he was open to the postponement of the deadline that expires on March 1. The condition, however, is the two countries to be close to concluding an agreement that includes profound structural changes in China’s economic policies.
Also, on Friday, Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to meet with the US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Beijing.
There is a reason to believe that the two negotiating sides have begun a serious discussion and by the end of the temporary truce they will be able to make a deal.
Asian markets recap
Most Asian stock indices of the Asia-Pacific region ended today’s trading session on the red amid a lack of development in trade talks between the US and China.
The Tokyo Stock Exchange blue-chip index Nikkei 225 posted a minimum decline of 0.02% to 21,139.71 points. The shares of Fast Retailing rose by 0.43%. The Japanese government announced that the domestic gross domestic product (GDP) has grown annually by 1.4% from October to December 2018.
South Korean index Kospi managed to add 24.37 points, or 1.11%, to its value and ended the day at 2,225.85 points.
On the Chinese exchanges, the continental index Shanghai Composite fell by 0.05% to 2,719.70 points, while the Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng wiped out 99.12 points of its value and ended the session at 28,398.47 points.
Chinese strong trade data was one of the key topics in the focus of investors. The country’s exports in January increased by 9.1% on an annual basis, showed customs data, totally disrupting economists’ expectations for a drop of 3.2%. This also shows a reversal of the 4.4% drop in December. The imports shrank by 1.5%, again far better than projections for a 10% drop and declining by 7.6% from December.
In Australia, the S&P ASX 200 benchmark fell 0.07% to 6059.40 points with the stocks of Australian and New Zealand Banking Group declined by 0.34%, those of the National Australia Bank dropped by 0.66%, and Westpac and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia wiped out 0.72% and 0.87%, respectively.
European markets mid-session recap
The German stocks rose modestly on Thursday with DAX 30 appreciating by 0.13% to 11,181.67 points at 10:50 GMT after wiping out its earlier stronger gain. Lender Commerzbank rose by 2.8% after its fourth-quarter profit jumped by 51% amid a major overhaul. Osram Licht dropped by 1%. The lighting manufacturer has confirmed rumors that Bain Capital and Carlyle Group are considering a joint acquisition of up to 100% of the company’s shares. Exchange operator Deutsche Boerse shed 0.8% after reporting a sharp drop in fourth-quarter profit. The stocks of Bilfinger jumped by over 5% after narrowing its FY loss.
French index CAC 40 appreciated by 0.4% to 5,093.73 points at mid-session trading. The stocks of Airbus jumped by more than 5%. The European aircraft manufacturer lifted dividend after posting stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter results. The shares of lender Credit Agricole Group dropped by 1% after its trading revenue plunged in the last three months of 2018. Energy management firm Schneider Electric soared almost 6% after announcing a new share buyback program. Automaker Renault advanced by 3.8% after its board blocked payouts worth 10 million EUR to ex-CEO Carlos Ghosn.
Britain’s main stock index held on to last session’s advance, aided by earnings-driven gains in drugmaker AstraZeneca and software company Micro Focus and boosted by forecast-beating trade data from China. The index FTSE 100 rose by 0.22% to 7,206.66 points at 10:50 GMT. The midcap gains were limited by a plunge in medical-device maker ConvaTec’s shares after its disappointing results. Blue chips got their biggest boost from AstraZeneca, which rose by 4.2% to put it on track for its best day since early November. Its fourth-quarter sales beat expectations and it forecast sales growth for 2019.
Wall Street pre-session recap
The US stock index futures were higher Thursday morning with market participants monitoring the US-China trade talks.
At around 6:10 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 94 points, indicating a positive open of more than 62.73 points. Futures on the S&P and Nasdaq were also seen slightly higher.
There is a raft of data due later Thursday. Retail sales are expected at 8.30 a.m. ET with jobless claims and core PPI due at the same time.