World shares mixed after S&P 500, Nasdaq hit record highs

Shares were mixed in Europe and Asia on Wednesday after the S&P 500’s all-time record high close a day earlier failed to spark buying enthusiasm overseas.

The FTSE 100 in Britain lost 0.5% to 7,482.28 while the CAC40 in Paris slipped 0.2% to 5,583.27. The DAX in Germany gained 0.3% to 12,261.77. Shares looked set to ease back on Wall Street, with the future contract for the Dow down 0.1% at 26,627.00 while the S&P 500 future contract fell 0.2% to 2,932.00.

The lackluster start for the day followed news that a U.S. delegation will visit Beijing next week to continue trade negotiations. Chinese officials will visit Washington for more talks starting May 8.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will lead the U.S. side in the talks beginning April 30.

They are aimed at resolving a dispute over Beijing’s technology policies and other issues that has clouded the economic outlook and shaken financial markets.

Investors seemed unswayed by that news or the S&P 500’s all-time high on Tuesday, which marked the market’s complete recovery from a nosedive at the end of last year. The S&P 500 index gained 0.9%, to 2,933.68. Its previous record high was 2,930.75, which was set on Sept. 20.

Various economic indicators, such as a larger-than-expected drop in Taiwan’s exports and similarly weak figures for Singapore and South Korea, appear to have left investors cautious.

“While the world speculates on the longevity of China’s latest stimulus hit, it’s essential to realize that not all parts of the world are performing as gloriously as the U.S. and China at the moment,” Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index lost 0.3% to 22,000.00 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong fell 0.5% to 29,805.03. The Shanghai Composite index edged 0.1% higher to 3,201.61 and the Kospi in South Korea gave up 0.9% to 2,201.03. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 gained 1% to 6,382.10. India’s Sensex climbed 0.2% to 38,621.09. Shares fell in Indonesia but rose in Singapore and Taiwan.

The benchmark S&P 500’s previous record was set last September, shortly before the market sank in the fourth quarter amid fears of a recession, an escalating trade war between the U.S. and China, and concern the Federal Reserve was moving too aggressively to raise interest rates.

Those concerns have eased or taken a back seat this year to more optimism among investors, who seem more optimistic about the global economy and Fed policy after the central bank signaled it might not raise interest rates at all in 2019.

So far, stocks have been lifted by relatively strong earnings results and optimistic corporate forecasts, though it’s too early to say if the season will beat Wall Street’s modest expectations.

ENERGY: U.S. crude lost 43 cents to $65.87 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 1.1% to settle at $66.30 per barrel on Tuesday. Oil has been climbing since dropping below $43 in late December. Brent crude declined 37 cents to $74.14 per barrel. It rose 0.6% to close at $74.51 per barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 111.81 Japanese yen from 111.87 yen late Tuesday. The euro slipped to $1.1215 from $1.1227.

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