Shares mixed as eyes turn from trade to impeachment

Global Markets


TOKYO/SHANGHAI/LONDON: Global shares were mixed Wednesday as investor optimism fades about last week’s US-China trade breakthrough and all eyes turn to US politics, where President Donald Trump is on the cusp of being impeached by the House. According to a tally, Trump is on track to be formally charged Wednesday by a House majority that he abused his power and obstructed Congress. Trump would bejust the third US president to be impeached.


If Trump is impeached, a trial in the Republican-held Senate would follow, where most expect he would be acquitted.




“Republicans are certain to stay loyal to the President and the impeachment process is not expected to yield any major market reactions,” wrote Edward Moya, analyst with Oanda. France’s CAC 40 moved from small gains to losses in midday trading at 5,967, while Germany’s DAX slipped 0.3 per cent to 13,249. Britain’s FTSE 100 edged up 0.1 per cent to 7,532. US trading was sluggish but shares were set to drift slightly higher with Dow futures inching up less than 0.1 per cent to 28,295. S&P 500 futures were also slightly higher at 3,196.




Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 0.6% to finish at 23,934.43. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained nearly 0.1 per cent to 6,851.40. South Korea’s Kospi inched down to 2,194.76. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng recouped earlier losses and edged up 0.2 per cent to 27,884.21, while the Shanghai Composite fell 0.1 per cent to 3,017.04. Shares were higher in Thailand, India, Indonesia and the Philippines.




Wall Street extended its milestone-shattering run Tuesday, nudging the major indexes to record highs. The S&P 500 had its fifth gain in a row, adding less than 0.1 per cent to 3,192.52. With less than three weeks left in 2019, the index is up 27.4 per cent for the year. The benchmark index and the Nasdaq closed at new highs for the fourth straight day, with the Nasdaq climbing 9.13 points or 0.1 per cent to 8,823.36. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 31.27 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 28,267.16, also a record high, its second milestone this week.




A Federal Reserve meeting last week also spurred buying after investors saw signals from Chairman Jerome Powell that interest rates will stay low for a while. “A lot of the strength that we’re seeing is just a continuation of the ‘Phase 1’ US-China deal from last week and some potential clarity around Brexit,” said Jamie Lavin, global investment specialist at JP Morgan Private Bank. The US and China agreed last week to cut tariffs on some of each others’ goods and postpone other tariff threats.




The interim trade deal has helped ease a key source of uncertainty for investors heading into next year. The latest batch of economic data also helps buttress traders’ confidence in the health of the US economy. In August, fears that the US was headed for recession roiled markets. The Fed said Tuesday that industrial production and manufacturing were stronger last month than economists expected, though they are weaker than a year ago. US housing data were also stronger than expected.

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