Global stocks lower after Wall St. record on stimulus hopes

On Thursday, the S&P 500 rose 0.6% and the Dow gained 0.5%. The Nasdaq added 0.8%.

Beijing: Global stock markets and US futures were mostly lower Friday after Wall Street hit a new high on optimism over economic stimulus and coronavirus vaccine development despite a spike in US unemployment claims.

Markets in Shanghai, Frankfurt, Tokyo and Hong Kong advanced while London opened higher.

Overnight, Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index gained for a third day on optimism about progress in Washington toward a new economic aid package while the government reported the highest level of new jobless claims in three months.

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Market action suggested investors see bad data is good news for progress toward a stimulus, Mizuho Bank said in a report.

Also Friday, Japan’s central bank extended an emergency loan program by six months and left monetary policy unchanged, as expected.

In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London rose 0.1% to 6,556.19 while the DAX in Frankfurt shed 0.2% to 13,645.27. The CAC 40 in France sank 0.2% to 5,537.04.

On Wall Street, the future for the S&P 500 lost 0.1% and that for the Dow Jones Industrial Average sank 0.2%.

On Thursday, the S&P 500 rose 0.6% and the Dow gained 0.5%. The Nasdaq added 0.8%.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.3% to 3,394.90 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo sank 0.2% to 26,763.39. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong shed 0.7% to 26,498.60.

The Kospi in Seoul gained less than 0.1% to 2,772.18 while Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 sank 1.2% to 6,675.50.

India’s Sensex was off less than 0.1% at 46,889.23. New Zealand and Southeast Asian markets retreated.

Investors have been waiting since before the American presidential election on Nov. 3 for U.S. lawmakers to agree on new aid to replace unemployment benefits that are expiring. That loss in income undercuts consumer spending that powers the biggest global economy and demand for imports from Asian and other suppliers.

The Labor Department reported the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose to 885,000 last week, the highest level since September.

Progress in developing and distributing coronavirus vaccines has helped buoy optimism that the U.S. economy might start to recover next year.

Democrats and Republicans in Congress are locked in a fight divided by party lines over the size and scope of an aid package at a time when the economy is showing fresh signs of stalling due to pressure from the pandemic.

Investors received more encouragement from the Federal Reserve, which helped shore up the markets early in the pandemic.

The central bank has again pledged to keep buying bonds until the economy makes substantial progress. Still, the Fed has said it can only do so much to tide over the economy and that more financial support from Washington is critical for a continued recovery.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude lost 1 cent to 48.35 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 54 cents on Thursday to 48.36. Brent crude, the price standard for international oils, declined 4 cents to 51.46 per barrel in London. The contract rose 42 cents the previous session to 51.50.

The dollar rose to 103.58 yen from Thursday’s 103.11 yen. The euro edged down to 1.2262 from 1.2264. 

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