World markets mostly lower after raucous Trump-Biden debate

AP – Share prices in Europe and Asia were mostly lower yesterday after the debate between United States (US) President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

There was scant sign the clash did much to sway investors. Shares fell in Paris, Frankfurt and Tokyo yesterday, while upbeat manufacturing data lifted shares in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Investors remain cautious with COVID-19 infections on the rise again in the US and elsewhere. The Trump-Biden debate occurred as coronavirus deaths worldwide have surpassed one million. Many millions of people worldwide are jobless.

Germany’s DAX fell 0.6 per cent to 12,755.33 and the CAC 40 in Paris lost 0.4 per cent to 4,813.99. The FTSE 100 in Britain edged 0.1 per cent lower to 5,889.73. US futures skidded, with the contract for the S&P 500 down 0.8 per cent and that for the Dow industrials falling 0.9 per cent.

A survey of Chinese manufacturers, the Caixin manufacturing purchasing manager’s index, showed economic activity accelerating further in September as businesses recovered from the downturn earlier this year due to the pandemic.

The Caixin manufacturing PMI slipped to 53.0 from 53.1 in August, on a 100-point scale.

People wearing face masks walk past a bank’s electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index yesterday. PHOTO: AP

China’s official manufacturing PMI rose to 51.5 from 51.0, its highest level in two years.

“The economic recovery has picked up pace with supply and both domestic as well as overseas demand improving,” Stephen Innes of AxiCorp said in a commentary. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong jumped 0.8 per cent to 23,459.05, but fell back from a 2.1 per cent gain earlier in the day. The Shanghai Composite index gave up its early advance, falling 0.2 per cent to 3,218.05.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index lost 1.5 per cent to 23,185.12, while the S&P/ASX 200 tumbled 2.3 per cent to 5,815.90. Markets were closed in South Korea.

The debate’s likely impact on markets, if any, was unclear. The atmosphere was antagonistic, as to be expected, but for voters still undecided about who’d better handle the multiple crises that have beset the nation, the faceoff may not have offered anything new. The price of oil fell 3.2 per cent on Tuesday, dragging much of the energy sector down with it. Yesterday, US crude fell 19 cents to USD39.10 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, gave up 29 cents to USD41.27 per barrel.

The last major jobs report before the election will come out tomorrow. It is a key indicator or how businesses are faring but also politically important for both GOP and Democratic messaging heading into the election. Economists expect 850,000 jobs were created in September, with an unemployment rate of 8.2 per cent.

In currency dealings, the US dollar strengthened to JPY105.67 from JPY105.64 late Tuesday.

The euro fell to USD1.1704 from USD1.1744.