European stock markets edge higher
European stock markets were slightly higher Wednesday after a steady showing in Asia gave way to a flat start on Wall Street.
Around 1500 GMT, London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index had gained 0.1 percent while indices in Frankfurt and Paris were also in positive territory.
German investors were cheered by a rebound in industrial orders in September, while growth in the French services sector in October was fueled by stronger foreign demand.
In New York meanwhile, the Dow was essentially unchanged in early trading, after the US Bureau of Labor Statistics said third-quarter productivity had fallen by 0.3 percent, the biggest drop since 2015, while unit labor costs increased by 3.6 percent.
“Markets are back in consolidation mode on Wednesday,” noted Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda trading group.
“We are still seeing plenty of trade war headlines with China, it seems, looking to capitalise on (US President Donald) Trump’s desire to secure a phase-one agreement,” he added.
Reports that the US is considering removing tariffs on more than $100 billion of Chinese imports to get a mini pact done had boosted Asian stock markets on Tuesday.
Signs of trade talk progress also helped support the Chinese yuan, which was hovering slightly above seven to the dollar, having broken below that level on Tuesday for the first time since May.
However, Stephen Innes at AxiTrader said investors could be reaching their limit for more gains until there is more movement on the trade talks.
“Sentiment is extremely optimistic and it could be that we are nearing the peak of the sentiment wave, and a phase one Sino-US deal is fully priced,” he said.
Elsewhere, oil prices — which reached six-week highs Tuesday on trade and economic hopes — edged slightly higher again in midday European trading.
– Key figures around 1500 GMT –
London – FTSE 100: UP 0.1 percent at 7,396.87 points
Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.3 percent at 13,181.46
Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.4 percent at 5,869.21
EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.3 percent at 3,688.53
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.2 percent at 23,303.82 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: FLAT at 27,688.64 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.4 percent at 2,978.60 (close)
New York – Dow: FLAT at 27,493.88
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1084 from $1.1075 at 2100 GMT
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 109.01 yen from 109.16 yen
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2878 from $1.2884
Euro/pound: UP at 86.06 pence from 85.96 pence
Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.3 percent at $63.13 per barrel
West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.4 percent at $57.61 per barrel