Stock market today: World shares mixed after China pledges more support for slowing economy


BANGKOK (AP) — World shares were mixed Wednesday after China pledged more spending to energize its economy.

Benchmarks fell in Paris, Frankfurt, Sydney and Seoul but rose in London, Tokyo and Hong Kong. U.S. futures were mixed and oil prices turned higher.

China plans to issue 1 trillion yuan ($139 billion) in government bonds to finance new construction and other projects as part of an effort to spur faster economy growth.

The aim is to drive more domestic spending and “further cement the recovery momentum of the Chinese economy,” the official Xinhua News Agency quoted Zhu Zhongming, a vice minister of finance as saying.

“This decision suggests a commitment to supporting economic growth and addressing fiscal challenges at various levels of government. It also hints at a potential future shift in China’s fiscal approach,” Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management said in a commentary.

However, officials said the funds would not be channeled into China’s ailing property sector, which has weighed heavily on growth as developers struggled to meet repayment obligations for massive debts while demand has weakened.

Chinese shares logged moderate gains on Wednesday, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rising 0.6% to 17,085.33. The Shanghai Composite index added 0.4% to 2,974.11.

In early European trading, Germany’s DAX fell 0.4% to 14,825.07 and the CAC 40 in Paris lost 0.5% to 6,864.02. London’s FTSE 100 was up 0.1% at 7,384.58.

The future for the S&P 500 slipped 0.4% while that for the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 0.1% higher. On Tuesday, the S&P 500 climbed 0.7% and the Dow gained 0.6%. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.9%.

In Asian trading Wednesday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index gained 0.7% to 31,269.92.

South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.9% to 2,363.17, while the S&P/ASX 200 in Sydney lost 2.6 points to 6,834.39. India’s Sensex dropped 0.8% and the SET in Bangkok was up 0.8%.

Stock markets have slumped under the weigh of higher U.S. Treasury bond yields, though they’ve gotten a slight reprieve this week as the yield for the 10-year Treasury fell back after climbing to 5.02% earlier this week. Early Wednesday, the 10-year yield was at 4.87%.

High yields hurt prices for stocks, cryptocurrencies and other investments. They also slow the economy bluntly and are a strain for the entire financial system.

Until now, the overall economy has remained remarkably resilient in the face of much higher interest rates. A solid job market and spending by U.S. households has helped keep the economy chugging along.

But some investors worry that even if interest rates and yields climb no further, they’re still high enough to eventually drag the economy into a recession if the Fed holds pat.

In the oil market, prices have dipped, taking some more pressure off inflation. Early Wednesday, a barrel of benchmark U.S. oil was down 7 cents at $83.67. On Tuesday, it dropped $1.75 to settle at $83.74.

Brent crude, the international standard, gained 10 cents early Wednesday to $87.26 per barrel.

U.S. oil had been above $93 last month, and it’s bounced up and down since then amid concerns that the latest Hamas-Israel war could lead to disruptions in supplies from Iran or other big oil-producing countries.

In currency dealings, the U.S. dollar rose to 149.92 Japanese yen from 149.91 yen. The euro fell to $1.0572 from $1.0591.

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