Global stocks mixed in quiet holiday trading

Published 8:19 am Thursday, December 26, 2019

BANGKOK (AP) — Global stocks were mixed on Tuesday after stocks closed modestly higher on Wall Street, extending the major indexes’ milestone-shattering run.

European markets opened flat on Christmas eve in a holiday-shortened week. Britain’s FTSE 100 inched up 4 points to 7,627.69 while the CAC 40 in Paris added less than 0.1% to 6,032.26. Both markets were to open for only half a day on Tuesday and then close Wednesday and Thursday for Christmas and Boxing Day.

While U.S. indexes set record highs on Monday, future contracts for the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrials were up less than 0.1% ahead of half-day trading on Tuesday.

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“Right now, a lot of people have gone home for the year and the path of least resistance is higher,” said Sameer Samana, senior global market strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute. “It’s hard to see any kind of meaningful trend change between now and the end of the year.”

Momentum for stocks has been clearly upward for months, driving the major stock indexes to record highs. The benchmark S&P 500 index has finished with a weekly gain in 10 out of the past 11 weeks.

Fears about a possible recession have also faded since the summer after the Federal Reserve cut interest rates three times, and the central bank appears set to keep them low for a long time.

“Unfortunately, we’ve probably pulled forward some returns from 2020,” Samana said. “Next year it gets a little bit more tricky with elections probably becoming a bigger focus that will lead to some more volatility.”

Rising optimism around a “Phase 1” trade deal announced earlier this month between the United States and China has helped put investors in a buying mood.

However, uncertainties remain, according to analysts. “There are few reasons to believe that optimism about a broader or ‘Phase 2’ could emerge in the near term,” Vishnu Varathan of Mizuho Bank said in a commentary.

Earlier in Asia, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 closed less than 0.1% higher at 23,830.58, while Shanghai Composite index gained 0.7% to 2,982.68. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.2% to close at 27,864.21. Seoul’s Kospi declined 0.6% to 2,190.08 while Sydney’s S&P-ASX inched 0.1% up to 6,794.20. New Zealand and Singapore advanced, while Taiwan and India declined.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil gained 11 cents to $60.62 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, added 17 cents at $65.59 per barrel.

Gold rose $6.80 to $1,495.50 per ounce. Silver rose 17 cents to $17.67 per ounce.

The dollar rose slightly to 109.40 Japanese yen. The euro slid slightly lower to $1.108.