World stock markets were mixed yesterday as traders took profits following recent gains that have sent indices to record or multi-year highs.
Optimism about the global economy and a string of positive earnings results have supported world equities in recent weeks.
The eurozone’s main markets Frankfurt and Paris were split, with the DAX 30 posting 0.2% gain at 13,382.42 points and the CAC 40 dipping 0.2% at 5,471.43 points.
Meanwhile in London the FTSE 100 eked out a small gain thanks to a weaker pound. It closed 0.2% down at 7,529.72 points.
The EURO STOXX 50 closed 0.09% down at 3,655.37 points.
Focus was on US President Donald Trump, in Beijing to meet Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.
Trade, a thorny issue between the two since Trump’s election a year ago, will likely top the agenda along with the North Korea crisis.
“US stocks are lower in early action, with President Donald Trump’s tour of Asia garnering attention and bolstering global trade uncertainty, while the long road to tax reform continues to face market scrutiny,” said analysts at the Charles Schwab brokerage.
The Dow was still drifting a bit lower in late morning trade, but the Nasdaq had turned higher by then.
In London, SSE was the top early riser in London, with its share price jumping after the British energy supplier and German-owned Npower said they agreed to merge their businesses that heat and light up millions of UK households.
But SSE later traded down, closing the day 0.9% lower, as the group announced also a slump in profits.
Mining companies also helped boost London’s FTSE 100 index after the release of Chinese trading data.
“China’s import data last night gave trades a reason to buy mining companies like Glencore, Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Anglo American,” said market analyst David Madden at CMC Markets after imports soared by 17.2% in the mineral hungry nation in October, beating expectations.
All the companies ended the day with gains.
Easing concerns about the North Korea crisis were offset by worries about the Middle East after Saudi Arabia accused Iran of “direct military aggression” over a Yemeni rebel missile attack near Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince had accused Iran of supplying missiles to the rebels, something which he said “could be considered as an act of war”. While the tensions had led to spike in oil prices on Monday, a surprise rise in US stocks of crude oil reported by the Energy Information Administration yesterday sent prices lower.
The Washington Post cited unnamed sources as saying Senate Republicans were considering putting off the cuts by a year to ease their cost and impact.
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