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Friday, September 29, 2023

Stock markets: Global shares mixed after Biden-Xi talks ease tensions

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Global shares were mixed Wednesday after virtual talks between U.S. President Joe Biden and China’s Xi Jinping.

France’s CAC 40 inched up nearly 0.1% to 7,157.55 in early trading, while Germany’s DAX edged up 0.2% to 16,276.37. Britain’s FTSE 100 dipped 0.1% to 7,319.95. U.S. shares were set for gains, with the future for the Dow industrials up nearly 0.1% at 36,085.00. The S&P 500 future added 0.1% to 4,699.25.

The online talks between Biden and Xi late Monday U.S. time appeared to signal a step in the right direction but they did not yield any major steps toward resolving longstanding disputes over trade and other issues.

“Any concrete development from the meeting still awaits to be seen, but the amiable approach thus far in addressing issues from both parties pares down the risks of political tension in markets,” said Yeap Jun Rong, market strategist at IG in Singapore.

In Asian trading, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 0.4% to finish at 29,688.33. South Korea’s Kospi fell 1.2% to 2,962.42. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.7% to 7,369.90 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.3% to 25,650.08.

The Shanghai Composite gained 0.4% to 3,537.37.

Stocks closed higher on Wall Street on Tuesday as investors reviewed solid earnings reports from big retailers and a surprisingly strong report on consumer spending. The government reported that Americans largely shrugged off higher prices last month and stepped up their spending at retail stores and online.

Several large U.S. retailers will release their latest financial results this week. Target reports its results on Wednesday and Macy’s reports results on Thursday.

Investors also received another encouraging economic update from the Federal Reserve, which said industrial production rebounded in October with a 1.6% gain. The gain followed a 1.3% plunge in September.

Wall Street is closely monitoring the latest economic reports for more clues as to how businesses and consumers are dealing with rising inflation. Companies have been raising prices as they face higher raw materials costs and supply chain problems. Consumers have been willing to pay the higher prices on many goods, though analysts are concerned that consumers could eventually pull back on spending because of inflation.

Heightened concerns over inflation tripped up the broader market last week following a strong run that lasted several weeks as companies reported mostly solid earnings.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude fell 54 cents to US$80.22 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 12 cents on Tuesday to $80.76 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 50 cents to $81.93 a barrel.

In currency trading, the U.S. dollar strengthened to 114.83 Japanese yen from 114.80 yen. It has been rising from the 110 yen level since September. The euro slipped to $1.1317 from $1.1322.

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