Global stocks mixed after Wall Street rises on Fed rate cut

BEIJING (AP) — Global stock markets were mixed yesterday after the Federal Reserve cut a key United States (US) interest rate and Chinese factory activity contracted.

London and Tokyo declined while Shanghai and Frankfurt advanced.

Investors welcomed the Fed’s third rate cut this year to shore up economic growth amid a bruising US-China trade war.

The Fed has “ample time to add a few more gallons of high octane to the tank and boost a sputtering US economic engine,” Stephen Innes of AxiTrader said in a report.

London’s FTSE 100 opened down 0.2 per cent to 7,317.47 while the Shanghai Composite Index retreated 0.3 per cent at 2,929.06. Germany’s DAX gained four points to 12,914.33 and France’s CAC 40 was unchanged at 5,765.87.

On Wall Street, futures for the Standard & Poor’s 500 index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.2 per cent.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.9 per cent to 29,906.72.

A Chinese investor monitors stock prices at a brokerage house in Beijing on Wednesday. Most Asian stock markets followed Wall Street higher on Thursday after the Federal Reserve cut a key interest rate. PHOTO: AP

After the market closed, the Hong Kong government reported the Chinese territory entered its first recession in a decade in the quarter ending in September. Economic output contracted 3.2 per cent from the previous quarter as anti-government protests depressed retail spending and tourism.

New Zealand and Singapore advanced, while Taiwan retreated.

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 rose 0.3 per cent to a record. The Dow gained 0.4 per cent while the Nasdaq composite added 0.3 per cent.

With its latest rate cut, the Fed has nearly reversed four hikes made in 2018.

The move reduces the short-term rate the central bank controls — which influences many consumer and business loan rates — to a range between 1.5 per cent and 1.75 per cent.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell signalled the central bank will likely forgo additional cuts while economic growth and inflation match the Fed’s outlook.

On Wednesday, the Commerce Department said US economic growth slowed to a modest 1.9 per cent in the July-September quarter. That surpassed forecasts for even weaker growth, however.

Meanwhile, a monthly gauge of Chinese factory activity declined more than expected for October amid weak consumer demand and the tariff war with Washington.

The China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing, a trade group, said its purchasing managers’ index declined to 49.3 from September’s 49.8 on a 100-point scale on which numbers below 50 show activity contracting.

China’s economy has been hurt by weakening consumer demand as shoppers, jittery over the trade war and possible job losses, put off purchases of cars and other big-ticket goods.

Exporters have been hurt by US President Donald Trump’s tariff hikes on Chinese imports in the fight over Beijing’s technology plans and trade surplus but the impact on the overall economy has been limited.

The latest data suggest an improvement at the end of the previous quarter “didn’t mark the start of a sustained recovery,” said Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics in a report.

Japan’s government reported industrial output rose 1.4 per cent in September over the previous month, but forecasters said activity for the rest of the year is likely to be weak.

ENERGY

Benchmark US crude rose two cents to USD55.08 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York mercantile Exchange. The contract lost 48 cents on Wednesday to close at USD55.06. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost one cent to USD60.23 per barrel in London. It lost 99 cents the previous session to USD60.24.

CURRENCY

The dollar declined to JPY108.30 from Wednesday’s JPY108.64. The euro advanced to USD1.1163 from USD1.1151.