Global stocks mixed ahead of Fed decision

Global stocks mixed ahead of Fed decision

NEW YORK,. Global stocks were mixed yesterday ahead of a Federal Reserve decision on monetary policy and while investors digested varied economic data from the United States, China and Europe.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 edged to its third straight record while the Nasdaq finished solidly lower, weighed down by disappointing results from Google parent Alphabet.

But as the US central bank kicked off its third meet of the year, US President Donald Trump again slammed the Fed for prior interest rate hikes and called for an interest rate cut.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will announce the Fed’s latest decision today and economists and investors will look for any hint in the statement of how central bankers are feeling about the economy and what their next move might be: A hike or a cut.

Meanwhile, US economic data released yesterday included a surprising jump in consumer confidence for April, according to data from the Conference Board.

Earlier, solid eurozone economic had muted effect on the region’s bourses.

The overall eurozone economy expanded by a better than forecast 0.4 per cent in the first quarter, official data showed yesterday, dampening talk of a looming recession in Europe and exceeding forecasts.

But the good news barely helped shares in Paris and Frankfurt, which both closed 0.1 per cent higher.

Milan’s stock market gained 0.4 per cent on welcome news that Italy has emerged from recession.

Weak Chinese data

Meanwhile, Chinese data showed that activity in the country’s factories barely grew last month, indicating the world’s number two economy continues to struggle.

“The latest survey data disappoint hopes for a further recovery,” said Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics.

“The official PMIs suggest that (the second quarter) got off to a weaker start and reinforce our view that there are still some downside risks to near-term activity,” he said in a note.

Beijing has announced a raft of stimulus measures to cushion the impact from its cooling economy, with spending on roads, railways and other big-ticket infrastructure projects picking up early this year, and tax cuts worth 2 trillion yuan (RM1.23 trillion) kicking in this month.

Yet General Motors cited uncertainty about Chinese stimulus as a factor in a 17.5 per cent fall in first-quarter sales in the big market. Overall, GM reported a 3.4 per cent quarterly decline in global revenues to US$3.9 billion.

While there are expectations that government stimulus will help spur a recovery in the Chinese market, “we have yet to see that translate into auto demand,” said Chief Financial Officer Dhivya Suryadevara.

“There’s still not enough specifics around what the stimulus is going to be,” she said, adding that GM had a slate of new vehicle launches scheduled in China in the second half of the year.

Key figures around 2030 GMT

New York – Dow: UP 0.2 per cent at 26,592.91 (close)

New York – S&P 500: UP 0.1 per cent at 2,945.83 (close)

New York – Nasdaq: DOWN 0.7 per cent at 8,107.77 (close)

London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.3 per cent at 7,418.22 (close)

Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.1 per cent at 12,344.08 (close)

Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.1 per cent at 5,586.41 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.4 per cent at 3,514.62 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.7 per cent at 29,699.11 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.5 per cent at 3,078.34 (close)

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: closed for holiday

Euro/dollar: UP at US$1.1220 from US$1.1186 at 2100 GMT Monday

Pound/dollar: UP at US$1.3042 from US$1.2937

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 111.37 from 111.65

Oil – Brent Crude: UP 76 cents at US$72.80 per barrel

Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP 41 cents at US$63.91 per barrel — AFP