Global stock markets mostly firmer

·3 min read
Traders' hopes that US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin could negotiate a stimulus deal with congressional Democrats have not been realized

Global stock markets were mostly firmer Friday on hopes US leaders will finally agree to a coronavirus economic stimulus package, while sharply rising case numbers and weak data in Europe capped gains there.

New York opened flat but the Nasdaq and S&P managed gains at the close, while the Dow dipped slightly after a mixed bag of company results that gave some firms sharp losses.

The markets are watching closely to see if, as seems to be the case, the upward momentum of the third quarter slows in the final part of the year as governments introduce new restrictions to tame the upsurge in the pandemic.

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said both parties "continue to be engaged in negotiations, and I am hopeful we will be able to reach an agreement."

Pelosi has sought this week to pin down a deal with US President Donald Trump's Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin even as Senate Republicans remain unconvinced.

However Mnuchin acknowledged "significant differences" remain with Pelosi on a deal, and the odds of a bargain ahead of the election grew slimmer.

"Today is nothing more than a consolidation day," Karl Haeling of LBBW said.

"The market really wants to see a bill before the election," but considering Wall Street didn't drop considerably, Haeling said it's possible "the market is looking through the next few months and thinking that there will be another stimulus package at least by March."

- 'Encouragement in uncertain times' -

Bets on a win in the election by Trump's challenger Joe Biden and a Democratic sweep of both houses of Congress have risen recently, with the consensus being that such an outcome would see the passage of an even bigger stimulus bill than the measure of around $2 trillion being discussed now.

In Frankfurt, Paris and London, stocks advanced despite survey data showing that economic activity shrank due to a resurgence in coronavirus.

London was also boosted by bright earnings from British bank Barclays and rebounding retail sales.

Data provider IHS Markit said that its closely watched composite eurozone PMI index fell in October for the third consecutive month to 49.2 points from 50.4 points in September.

Any reading above 50 points indicates that business activity is expanding, but a level below 50 points means the economy is contracting. 

- Key figures around 1400 GMT -

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.1 percent at 28,335.57 (close)

New York - S&P 500: UP 0.3 percent at 3,465.39 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: UP 0.4 percent at 11,548.28 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 1.3 percent at 5,860.28 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.8 percent at 12,645.75 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 1.2 percent at 4,909.64 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.9 percent at 3,198.86 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.2 percent at 23,516.59 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.5 percent at 24,918.78 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 1.0 percent at 3,278.00 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1859 from $1.1818 at 2100 GMT

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 104.69 yen from 104.86 yen

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3043 from $1.3145

Euro/pound: UP at 90.89 pence from 90.33 pence

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 2.1 percent at $39.78 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 1.9 percent at $41.67