Stock market today: World shares are mixed as China shares extend gains


TOKYO (AP) — Shares were mixed Wednesday in Europe and Asia as Chinese shares extended their gains after Beijing stepped up support measures for wobbling markets.

France’s CAC 40 edged 0.1% higher to 7,648.12. Germany’s DAX dipped 0.1% to 17,010.92. Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 0.2% to 7,666.67.

The future for the S&P 500 was nearly unchanged while that for the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 0.1% higher.

The OECD reported that inflation in the 38 member countries edged up to 6.0% in December from 5.8% in November. But it said food costs in 31 countries fell and noted declining price trends in the U.S. and China.

Stocks rose in Shanghai and the smaller market in Shenzhen after Chinese regulators issued another set of market-enhancing policies, while Hong Kong gave up early gains.

Tuesday’s announcement that a state investment fund was stepping up purchases of exchange-traded funds, among other measures, supported further gains. A report that Chinese leader Xi Jinping was to meet with officials to discuss the markets remained unconfirmed, with no word on such a meeting.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.3% to 16,081.89, while the Shanghai Composite index gained 1.4% to 2,829.70.

Investors were selling technology and property shares that had climbed during the markets’ brief rally. The mostly small cap stocks traded in the southern Chinese market of Shenzhen were up 1.5%, and the CSI 1000, an index that tracks highly volatile “snowball derivatives” was up 4.5%.

Elsewhere in Asia, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.1% to finish at 36,119.92 despite gains for companies that have reported strong financial results, including Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp., which rose 4%.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.5% to 7,615.80. South Korea’s Kospi jumped 1.3% to 2,609.58.

On Tuesday, Wall Street drifted higher as the bond market calmed following some sharp swings.

The S&P 500 rose 0.2%, nearly returning to its all-time high set at the end of last week. The Dow industrials gained 0.4% and the Nasdaq composite edged up 0.1%.

Stocks have been under some pressure recently as hints keep coming that the Federal Reserve is unlikely to cut interest rates as soon as traders had hoped. The U.S. economy has remained remarkably solid, even though the Fed has jacked up rates to slow it and inflation down. That has pushed some forecasts for the first easing of rates from March into the summer.

While a delay in rate cuts hurts the stock market, strong economic data also carry an upside for investors. They should mean stronger profits for companies.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude gained 54 cents to $73.85 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, added 52 cents to $79.11.

In currency trading, the U.S. dollar fell to 147.92 Japanese yen from 147.95 yen. The euro cost $1.0768, up from $1.0755.

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