BEIJING, China – Global stocks were mixed Wednesday after Wall Street declined and China said it will give foreign investors more access to Chinese equities through Hong Kong.
KEEPING SCORE: In early trading, France’s CAC-40 added 1.5 per cent to 4,410.55 points while Germany’s DAX shed 0.8 per cent to 10,591.17. London’s FTSE 100 declined 0.2 per cent to 6,878.66. On Tuesday, the CAC-40 shed 0.8 per cent, the FTSE 100 lost 0.7 per cent and the DAX fell 0.6 per cent. Wall Street looked set for a mixed opening, with the future for the Dow Jones industrial average up 0.1 per cent and that for the Standard & Poor’s 500 index off 0.1 per cent.
WALL STREET SLIDE: U.S. stocks slid as investors sold phone company and utility shares. On Tuesday, the Federal Reserve said U.S. factories cranked out more autos, machinery and chemicals in July, which suggests manufacturers might be recovering, though growth is little changed from a year ago. The Commerce Department said the pace of home construction grew by the most since February. The Dow and S&P both lost 0.5 per cent while the Nasdaq composite fell 0.7 per cent.
HONG KONG STOCK LINK: China’s Cabinet approved an initiative that would give foreign investors more access to Chinese stocks by linking exchanges in Hong Kong and the mainland city of Shenzhen. Hong Kong is Chinese territory but its financial system is open to foreign investors while mainland markets are sealed off from global capital flows. The Chinese premier said the move will help to reinforce Hong Kong’s status as a financial centre. It helped to boost sentiment there on Wednesday, but analysts said the influx of foreign money into Chinese stocks is likely to be modest. A similar measure to link Hong Kong with the Shanghai stock exchange took effect in 2014. Shares in Shenzhen were higher on Wednesday.
FED WATCH: Investors looked ahead to Wednesday’s release of notes from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s July meeting for insight into the debate among board members over when to raise rates. One member of the policy-making board, William Dudley, said earlier it was premature to rule out further tightening this year and another member, Dennis Lockhart, said Tuesday there could be two hikes in 2016. The Fed’s earlier decision to hold off raising rates has weakened the dollar, helping exporters.
ASIA’S DAY: Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.9 per cent to 16,745.64 points and Seoul’s Kospi rose 0.9 per cent to 2,017.94. Benchmarks in New Zealand and Taiwan also rose. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was off 0.5 per cent at 22,799.78 and the Shanghai Composite Index was unchanged at 3,109.55. India’s Sensex lost 0.1 per cent to 28,022.97 and Singapore and Thailand also declined.
CURRENCY: The dollar gained to 100.85 yen from Tuesday’s 100.33 yen. The euro edged down to $1.1267 from $1.1276.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude shed 46 cents to $46.12 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 84 cents on Tuesday to $46.58 per barrel. Brent crude, used to price international oils, tumbled 51 cents to $48.72 in London. It added 88 cents the previous session to $49.23 per barrel.