WORLD

Stock market today: Global stocks mixed after strong US factory data prompt Wall St retreat

Apr 2, 2024, 12:42 AM | Updated: 2:02 am

HONG KONG (AP) — Global stocks were mixed on Tuesday after Wall Street retreated as surprisingly strong U.S. manufacturing data cast doubts over how soon the Federal Reserve might cut interest rates.

European markets opened mostly higher, but Germany’s DAX then slipped, losing 0.1% to 18,525.79. In Paris, the CAC 40 was flat at 8,206.00. In London, the FTSE 100 was up 0.3% at 7,976.39.

The future for the S&P 500 was less than 0.1% lower and that for the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.3%.

In Asian trading, Hong Kong gained 2.4% to 16,931.52. The Shanghai Composite index edged 0.1% lower to 3,074.96.

China real estate developer Vanke’s Hong Kong-listed shares slumped 12.9% after it reported last week that its 2023 core profit sank 50.6% from a year earlier. In a rare case of intervention, in March state banks were tapped to provide financial support for Vanke.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 closed 0.1% higher at 39,838.91.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.2% to 2,753.16, after data showed the country’s consumer prices rose 3.1% in March compared to the same period last year, matching the previous month’s pace.

The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia gave up 0.1% to 7,887.90 after the country’s manufacturing sector index contracted to 47.3 in March from 47.8 in February, which is at the fastest pace since May 2020.

On Monday, the S&P 500 dipped 0.2% from its all-time high to finish at 5,243.77. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.6%, from its record to 39,566.85. The Nasdaq composite was an outlier and added 0.1% to 16,396.83.

Treasury yields spurted higher after a report said U.S. manufacturing unexpectedly returned to growth last month. It snapped a 16-month run of contraction, according to the Institute for Supply Management.

It’s the latest evidence showing the U.S. economy remains strong despite high interest rates. That’s a positive for the stock market because it can drive growth in profits for companies. But it can also keep upward pressure on inflation. That in turn could mean a more hesitant Federal Reserve when it comes to the cuts to interest rates that investors crave.

Following the manufacturing data, traders on Wall Street briefly trimmed bets on the first cut to rates coming as soon as June. That’s still a “reasonable baseline” expectation, according to Deutsche Bank economists, but they say tough talk from Fed officials recently could hint at interest rates staying higher for longer than earlier thought.

The Fed has hiked its main rate to the highest level since 2001 in order to slow the economy and hurt investment prices enough to get inflation under control. Expectations for coming cuts have been a major reason the S&P 500 soared more than 20% from October through March.

This week will offer several economic reports that could sway the Fed’s thinking, including updates on job openings across the country and the strength of U.S. services businesses. The headliner arrives on Friday, when economists expect a report to show that hiring cooled a bit last month.

A slowdown would be welcome on Wall Street, where the hope is that the economy remains solid but not so strong that it pushes inflation higher. Inflation is milder than it was at its peak nearly two years ago. But progress has become bumpier recently, with reports this year coming in hotter than expected.

In other trading U.S. benchmark crude oil gained $1.42 to $85.13 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude oil added $1.36 to $88.76 per barrel.

The dollar fell to 151.62 Japanese yen from 151.68 yen. The euro slipped to $1.0732 from $1.0745.

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Stock market today: Global stocks mixed after strong US factory data prompt Wall St retreat