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- Global stocks are mixed Wednesday as investors weigh rising US-China tensions and the growing implications of a new draconian law on Hong Kong, while Europe awaits the launch of a major new stimulus package.
- S&P futures rose 1.6% and the pan-continental Euro Stoxx 50 rose 1.6%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng traded lower by 0.5% on Wednesday.
- On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump added to tensions by promising “interesting” action on China by the end of the week.
- Separately, the White House press secretary specified Trump would consider sanctions on a range of Chinese officials, businesses, and financial Institutions.
- On Wednesday, the European Commission is expected to announce a huge package of new stimulus measures to help protect the economy from the impact of coronavirus.
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Global stocks were mixed Wednesday after US President Trump promised “interesting” action on China’s proposed crackdown on Hong Kong by the end of the week, and as European investors wait anxiously for the announcement of a new stimulus package from the European Commission.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.5% as thousands of protesters flooded the streets in defiance against a proposed law that would allow Beijing to more harshly crack down on dissent in the semi-autonomous region.
China’s Shanghai Composite index retreated 0.3% after President Trump promised of a “very interesting” US response within days when asked if the White House is considering sanctions against China or visa restrictions for Chinese students. He didn’t elaborate on the measures.
Trump also warned Hong Kong was at risk of losing its status as a global financial centre if the proposed national security law goes ahead as planned.
Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, told reporters Tuesday that Trump is “displeased with China’s efforts and … it’s hard to see how Hong Kong can remain a financial hub if China takes over.”
She added that Trump’s response would take into consideration a range of Chinese officials, businesses, and financial institutions.
Despite escalating US-China tensions and alarming implications for Hong Kong, Western investors chose instead to focus on easing lockdowns across the globe, extending substantial gains from the previous day.
“The world getting back on its feet has given a lot of encouragement to investors, also helped by hopes over various potential vaccines being developed in the fight against coronavirus,” Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell said in an email.
In Europe, investors were firmly fixed on the upcoming European Commission announcement on a new coronavirus-linked stimulus package. The Euro Stoxx 50 rose 1.6% ahead of the announcement, which will come in the European afternoon, and according to media reports Wednesday morning, is likely to be worth around €750 billion ($823 billion).
Analysts pointed out that in recent weeks markets have made insubstantial moves despite a diverse range of anxiety-causing headlines.
That “says a lot about how successfully central banks have detached them from reality,” Rabobank analysts said in a note.
Here’s the market roundup as of 10.40 a.m. in London (5.40 a.m. ET):
- Asian indexes were mixed with China’s Shanghai Composite down 0.3%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng down 0.5%, and Japan’s Nikkei up 0.7%.
- European equities rose, with Germany’s DAX up 1.6%, Britain’s FTSE 100 up 1.5%, and the Euro Stoxx 50 up 1.6%.
- US stocks are set to open higher. Futures underlying the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq rose between 1.2% and 1.6%.
- Oil prices fell, with West Texas Intermediate down 0.5% at $34.17, and Brent crude down 0.8% at $35.88.
- The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield fell to 0.68%.
- Gold fell 0.5% to $1,696 per ounce.
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