World shares are mixed, with Chinese shares falling, ahead of Fed rate decision

AP , Tuesday 30 Jan 2024

European shares rose Tuesday after a mixed day of trading in Asia, where Hong Kong and Shanghai declined on renewed selling of property and technology shares.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on January 29, 2024 in New York City
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on January 29, 2024 in New York City. AFP



U.S. futures slipped and oil prices edged higher.

Investors are watching this week for an interest rate decision by the Federal Reserve and for a slew of corporate earnings reports.

Companies so far this reporting season have not been getting as big a boost to their stock price as usual after topping analysts’ forecasts.

Germany's DAX rose 0.2% to 16,965.97 and the CAC 40 in Paris was up 0.4% at 7,671.60. Britain's FTSE 100 advanced 0.6% to 7,676.14. The future for the S&P 500 was down less than 0.1% and that for the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost just over 0.1%.

Shares in property developer China Evergrande Group, the world's most heavily indebted real estate company with more than $300 billion in liabilities, remained suspended from trading after a Hong Kong court ordered the company to be liquidated because it is insolvent.

But shares in China Evergrande New Energy Vehicle Group closed 4.4% higher after they resumed trading following a suspension on Monday. Evergrande Property Services fell lost 3.9%.

Other property companies led the decline in Hong Kong, where the benchmark Hang Seng index sank 2.3% to 15,703.45. Country Garden tumbled 5.7% and Sunac China Holdings was down 7.1%. Guangzhou R&F Properties lost 5.5%.

Technology companies also retreated, with food delivery company Meituan down 2.8% and e-commerce giant Alibaba falling 2%.

The Shanghai Composite index gave up 1.8% to 2,830.53.

Chinese regulators have been moving to prop up the markets, among the world’s worst performing so far this year, amid worries about the troubled property industry and slowing growth in the world's second-largest economy.

“Skepticism persists regarding the equity plunge protection plan,” Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management said in a commentary. “While measures akin to a band-aid on a broken leg may temporarily boost stock prices, they do little to stabilize earnings or foster growth.”

Elsewhere in Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index edged 0.1% higher to 36,065.86 and the Kospi in South Korea edged 0.1% lower, to 2,498.81. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 picked up 0.3% to 7,600.20.

Bangkok's SET lost 0.2% while India's Sensex shed 1.1%.

On Monday, U.S. stocks gained as they kicked off a week where Wall Street’s most influential stocks may show whether the huge expectations built up for them are justified.

The S&P 500 gained 0.8% and the Dow industrials climbed 0.6%. The Nasdaq composite jumped 1.1%.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve will make its next decision on what to do with interest rates. Traders expect it to stand pat but hope it may cut rates at its next meeting in March. That would mark the first downward move since the Fed began dramatically raising interest rates two years ago to get inflation under control.

A wave of encouraging data has Wall Street believing its dream scenario can come true: The Fed will successfully conquer high inflation and deliver the cuts to rates that investors crave, while the economy skirts through without falling into a recession that seemed inevitable last year.

On Friday, the U.S. government will release the latest monthly update on the job market. Economists expect it to show continued growth in hiring, but at a cooler pace. That’s exactly what the Fed would want to see because too much growth could mean upward pressure on inflation.

In other trading Tuesday, U.S. benchmark crude oil was up 16 cents at $76.95 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It dropped $1.23 to settle at $76.78 a barrel on Monday.

A barrel of Brent crude, the international standard, gained 9 cents to $81.92 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar fell to 147.25 yen from 147.50 yen. The euro rose to $1.0838 from $1.0835.

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