TOKYO (AP) Global stocks were trading mixed on Thursday after strong selling in big-name tech stocks pushed benchmarks lower on Wall Street.
Shares rose in Paris, Frankfurt, Shanghai and Hong Kong but fell in Tokyo, London and Sydney. US futures were flat and oil prices fell.
The European economy is contracting slightly to late last year and early 2023, according to revised figures released Thursday that underscore the impact of the loss of Russian natural gas and high inflation on consumer spending. This means that the euro zone has suffered two consecutive quarters of declining output, which is a definition of recession often used in political and economic discussions, dubbed a technical recession..
The economic growth figure for the 20 countries that use the euro has been revised down from zero to minus 0.1% for the fourth quarter of 2022. The figure for the first three months of this year has also been lowered from weak growth of 0.1% minus 0.1%.
France’s CAC 40 gained 0.3% in early trading to 7,224.07, while Germany’s DAX gained 0.2% to 15,993.05. Britain’s FTSE 100 slipped 0.2% to 7,612.19. Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 remained virtually unchanged.
In Asian trading, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 0.9% to 31,641.27. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.3% to 7,099.70. The South Korean Kospi slipped 0.2% to 2,610.85. Hong Kongs Hang Seng edged up 0.3% to 19,299.18. The Shanghai Composite gained 0.5% to 3,213.59. Taiwans Taiex lost 1.1%, while Indias Sensex lost 0.4%.
The Japanese government has revised its growth estimate for the January-March quarter upwards to 2.7%. This was above what analysts had expected. The economy has been recovering since the lifting of restrictions linked to the coronavirus pandemic. The nation has seen a return of tourists, as well as other economic activities.
The focus is now on when Japan’s central bank could step away from the accommodative monetary policy it has stuck to for years. Over the past year, the US Federal Reserve and other central banks around the world have raised interest rates. Japan’s benchmark rate is minus 0.1%.
While higher growth may leave some room to consider a policy exit from the Bank of Japan, central banks’ stance may remain unchanged for now, with Governor Kazuo Ueda’s recent comments indicating more of a wait-and-see attitude, Yeap Jun Rong, a market analyst at IG said in a report.
On Wall Street on Wednesday, the S&P 500 fell 0.4% although the majority of stocks in the index rose. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.3% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite fell 1.3%.
Microsoft, Amazon, Nvidia and Alphabet all fell at least 3% and were the heaviest weights in the S&P 500. Because they are among the most valuable stocks on Wall Street, their movements provide an additional boost at the index.
Wall Street wonders which will come first: a recession or a sufficient drop in inflation to cause the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates? Most Traders Expect the Fed to Leave Rates Stable next week. It would mark the first policy meeting in more than a year where it has not raised its benchmark rate, which is at its highest level since 2007. But the Fed could start raising rates again in July.
The purpose of higher interest rates is to stifle high inflation by slowing the overall economy and hurting the prices of stocks, bonds, and other investments. Pressure from high rates is squeezing the US banking and manufacturing sectors, although the labor market has remained strong.
In energy trading on Thursday, benchmark U.S. crude fell 16 cents to $72.37 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 79 cents to $72.53 on Wednesday. Brent crude, the international standard, fell 16 cents to $76.79 a barrel.
In currency trading, the US dollar fell to 139.80 Japanese yen from 140.10 yen. The Euro traded at $1.0729, down from $1.0698 previously.
Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama
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