WORLD

Stock market today: Global shares are mixed, with China stocks down, after Wall St retreat

May 23, 2024, 12:09 AM | Updated: 2:42 am

TOKYO (AP) — Global shares were mixed on Thursday, with European markets gaining after most major Asian benchmarks declined, apart from in Tokyo.

France’s CAC 40 edged 0.2% higher to 8,109.40. Germany’s DAX climbed 0.3% to 18,742.83, while Britain’s FTSE 100 was flat at 8,373.25.

The future for the S&P 500 was up 0.5%, while that for the Dow Jones Industrial Average was nearly unchanged.

In Asian trading, semiconductor related issues were lifted by news that Nvidia’s profit skyrocketed above forecasts, with quarterly net income climbing more than sevenfold from a year earlier to $14.88 billion. Revenue more than tripled for what’s become the iconic brand behind the recent artificial intelligence boom.

Taiwan’s Taiex hit a record high, gaining 0.3% to close at 21,607.43.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 1.3% to finish at 39,103.22. Semiconductor-related companies lead the advance, with tool-maker Disco Corp. jumping 8% and chip test equipment maker Advantest Corp. surging 5.4%.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 sank 0.5% to 7,811.80. South Korea’s Kospi fell nearly 0.1% to 2,721.81 as the central bank kept is policy rate unchanged, as expected.

Chinese shares fell back as investors questioned whether a fresh flurry of policies to help the troubled property sector will suffice to end the industry’s crisis. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 1.7% to 18,868.71, while the Shanghai Composite shed 1.3% to 3,116.39.

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 fell 0.3% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average sank 0.5%. The Nasdaq composite slipped 0.2%.

The latest minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy meeting showed Fed officials suggesting it “would likely take longer than previously thought” to get inflation fully under control following disappointingly high readings early this year.

And even though Fed Chair Jerome Powell said after that meeting that the Federal Reserve is more likely to cut rates than to hike them, the minutes said “various participants” were willing to raise rates if inflation worsens. That cut at the rekindled hopes on Wall Street that the Fed will be able to cut its main interest rate at least once this year.

In recent speeches since that May 1 meeting, some Fed officials have indeed called those recent reports encouraging. But they have also said they still need to see months more of improving data before they could cut the federal funds rate, which is sitting at its highest level in more than 20 years.

The Fed is trying to pull off a tightrope walk where it slows the economy just enough through high interest rates to get inflation under control but not so much that it causes a bad recession.

Central banks around the world seem eager to cut interest rates, but “they may not go far” given how well economies are doing and how high inflation still is, according to Athanasios Vamvakidis, a strategist at Bank of America. He said in a BofA Global Research report that he expects only shallow cuts to interest rates, which may also come later than financial markets seem to be forecasting.

In other trading, U.S. benchmark crude rose 3 cents to $77.60 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 7 cents to $81.79 a barrel.

The U.S. dollar fell to 156.77 Japanese yen from 156.80 yen. The euro rose to $1.0842 from $1.0824.

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