Asian stocks mixed, Europe rise after Xmas results cheer WS

Agence France-Presse . Hong Kong | Published: 21:27, Dec 27,2019


A pedestrian looks at an electric quotation board displaying the numbers on the Nikkei 225 Index on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and various markets around the world. — AFP photo

Asian markets were mixed on Friday following another strong lead from Wall Street where tech stocks won big with strong Christmas results.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq finished above 9,000 for the first time on Thursday, hitting its 10th straight record fuelled by gains by e-commerce behemoth Amazon and other tech giants. The Dow and the S&P 500 also closed higher.

Hong Kong was the major winner in Asia after the strong overnight cue, putting on 1.3 per cent.

Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index closed down, dropping 0.4 per cent with low investor participation ahead of the year-end holidays.

Mainland China’s Shanghai Composite Index also closed in negative territory, slipping 0.1 per cent.

Elsewhere, Sydney rose 0.4 per cent, Seoul added 0.3 per cent, and Singapore was up 0.2 per cent.

A report by Mastercard Spending Plus estimated that holiday shopping sales rose by a betterthanexpected 3.4 per cent this year, with e-commerce taking a bigger bite of overall sales.

US consumers’ ‘willingness to open the purse strings has offset declining business investment in the face of the trade war and economic uncertainty,’ Stephen Innes, chief Asia market strategist at AxiTrader, said in a note.

Amazon jumped 4.5 per cent after boasting of another ‘record’ performance this season.

Other tech giants including Apple, Google parent Alphabet and Facebook all gained at least one per cent.

‘Santa Claus appears to have returned to Wall Street overnight... dropping off another round of goodies for investors,’ Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst for Asia-Pacific at OANDA, said in a note.

The holiday spending results have added to the positive sentiment across trading floors following the US-China trade thaw, and the expectation that the ‘phase one’ deal between Washington and Beijing will be finalised next month.

Markets have been spooked since US president Donald Trump launched his trade war against China, and analysts have voiced fears about the impact of the bruising spat on global economic growth.

Both main oil contracts were up, driven by US-China trade hopes and sustained demand, analysts said.

Brent Crude was up 0.3 per cent, and West Texas Intermediate rose 0.4 per cent.

‘Optimism about trade helped the outlook for global growth and with it the demand for oil while the US consumer is showing few signs of tightening their purse strings, which is positive for oil also,’ wrote AxiTrader’s Innes.

European stock markets rose at the start of the trading on Friday following the festive break.

London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index climbed 0.3 per cent to 7,651.96 points, compared with the close on Tuesday.

Frankfurt’s DAX 30 index, trading for the first time since Monday, advanced 0.3 per cent to 13,342.87 points.

The Paris CAC 40 won 0.3 per cent to 6,047.24, compared with Tuesday’s close.

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