Global stocks mixed after Wall Street rises to record

TOKYO (AP) — Global shares were mixed yesterday, while the Shanghai benchmark jumped 1.8 per cent after China’s central bank cut interest rates to help ease credit for companies stricken by a virus outbreak centred on the Chinese city of Wuhan.

France’s CAC 40 edged down nearly 0.1 per cent in early trading to 6,105.81. Germany’s DAX fell 0.2 per cent to 13,759.70, while Britain’s FTSE 100 edged up less than 0.1 per cent to 7,462.54. United States (US) shares were steady, with Dow futures down 0.1 per cent at 29,309.00. S&P 500 futures fell 0.1 per cent to 3,383.60.

China’s central bank cut its one-year loan prime rate to 4.05 per cent from 4.15 per cent yesterday, a move aimed at mitigating the economic damage from the COVID-19 sickness that is spreading mostly in China. The five-year loan prime rate was cut to 4.75 per cent from 4.80 per cent. A medium-term rate was cut earlier in the week, raising hopes for further monetary stimulus.

“Despite continued news on the virus, the market remains sanguine as Chinese officials continue their efforts to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the economy,” RaboResearch said in a statement.

For now, at least, investors seem to be confident that China’s central bank, the Federal Reserve and other central banks can prop up the economy.

A currency trader wearing a face mask watches monitors at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea yesterday. PHOTO: AP

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 0.3 per cent to finish at 23,479.15, shedding bigger early gains. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.3 per cent to 7,162.50. and the Shanghai Composite index picked up 1.8 per cent to 3,030.15. But South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.7 per cent to 2,195.50. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dipped 0.2 per cent to 27,609.16, while India’s Sensex was little changed at 41,330.57.

Overnight, US stocks shook off their latest virus-induced losses, breaching new record highs.

Technology stocks led the rally, as Apple recovered most of its loss from the day before. It dropped on Tuesday after warning that revenue this quarter would fall short of forecasts due to the viral outbreak centred in China.

Low rates have been a key underpinning for the strong US stock market, which has rallied even though growth in corporate profits has been weak. The Fed released minutes on Wednesday afternoon from its last policy meeting, where officials said they see the current level of monetary policy “as likely to remain appropriate for a time”, at least until data on the economy shows a change in momentum.

ENERGY

Benchmark crude oil added 21 cents to USD53.70 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It jumped USD1.20 to USD53.49 overnight. Brent crude oil, the international standard, was unchanged at USD59.12 a barrel.

CURRENCIES

The dollar edged up to JPY111.72 from JPY110.34 on Wednesday. The euro weakened slightly to USD1.0790 from USD1.0805.