HONG KONG (AP) — World stock markets were mixed on Thursday as investors analyzed the Fed’s decision to keep interest rates unchanged and kept an eye out for developments from China-U.S. trade talks in Beijing.
KEEPING SCORE: European shares slipped in early trading. France’s CAC 40 lost 0.3 percent to 5,155.00 and Germany’s DAX fell 0.2 percent to 12,772.48. Britain’s FTSE 100 dipped 0.1 percent to 7,539.62. Wall Street was poised to open higher. Dow futures added 0.2 percent to 23,871.00 and broader S&P 500 futures advanced 0.3 percent to 2,633.60.
ASIAN SCORECARD: Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng index dropped 1.2 percent to close at 30,313.37 and South Korea’s Kospi dipped 0.7 percent to end at 2,487.25. The Shanghai Composite index rose 0.6 percent to 3,100.86 and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.8 percent to 6,098.30. Taiwan shares fell and Southeast Asian indexes were mostly lower. Japan’s markets were closed for a holiday.
TRADE TRIP: A U.S. delegation led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin arrived in Beijing on Thursday for two days of talks with senior Chinese leaders in an effort to calm worsening friction over the trade imbalance between the world’s two biggest economies. Prospects for a breakthrough looked uncertain given the intensifying rivalry over technology that underlies the dispute.
XIAOMI IPO: Beijing-based Xiaomi, the world’s No. 4 smartphone maker by shipment volume, filed documents Thursday with Hong Kong’s stock exchange operator for an initial public offering that could be the world’s biggest share sale in years. Listing documents provided no financial details. But the newspaper South China Morning Post cited unnamed banking sources saying Xiaomi plans to raise up to $10 billion in a deal that would value the company at $100 billion.
FED STANDS PAT: In leaving rates unchanged, as investors and analysts had expected, the Fed said it expects to continue gradually raising them. The U.S. central bank also said inflation is approaching its 2 percent target after years of remaining undesirably low, though policymakers didn’t suggest they’re overly concerned that inflation will overshoot that.
QUICK TAKE: “With much of the good news in the equity world currently factored in, investors are left mulling over the paradoxical landscape of stellar earnings but higher interest rates and the threat of trade war,” said Stephen Innes, head of Asian trading at OANDA. “This struggle is unlikely to end anytime soon.”
ENERGY: Oil futures edged higher. Benchmark U.S. crude added 9 cents to $68.03 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract jumped 1 percent to settle at $67.93 a barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude, the international standard, gained 3 cents to $73.41 per barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar weakened to 109.65 yen from 109.86 yen in late trading Wednesday. The euro rose to $1.1999 from $1.1952.
– Here are the top five things you need to know in financial markets on Thursday, May 3:
1. U.S.-China Trade Talks Kick Off In Beijing
Two days of tense U.S.-China trade talks between U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He are due to kick off on Thursday in Beijing.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, and White House advisers Larry Kudlow and Peter Navarro are among the U.S. officials also participating in the meetings.
The talks are taking place after President Donald Trump proposed new tariffs on Chinese goods and Beijing responded with a set of duties that could potentially apply to U.S. products too.
China would welcome a successful outcome from trade talks with the U.S., but is fully prepared for all outcomes and will not negotiate on core interests, a Chinese government official said on Wednesday.
The most likely outcome is an agreement to keep talking, with the Trump administration maintaining its threat to press ahead with punitive tariffs on Chinese goods, trade experts say.
2. Attention Shifts To U.S. Data After Fed Holds
Market attention now shifts to upcoming economic data after the Federal Reserve did little to alter expectations for further interest rate rises this year.
The Fed kept interest rates unchanged following its policy meeting on Wednesday, a move that was widely expected, and noted that inflation was starting to inch higher, leaving it on track to raise borrowing costs in June.
The week’s biggest economic report, however, won’t come until Friday morning when the monthly jobs numbers are set for release.
The dollar edged lower to give back some of its recent gains, while Treasury yields slipped.
3. Another Busy Day Of Earnings
Notable earnings reports expected out on Thursday morning include Kellogg (NYSE:K), Teva (NYSE:TEVA), Blue Apron (NYSE:APRN), Cigna (NYSE:CI), DowDuPont (NYSE:DWDP), New York Times (NYSE:NYT), and WWE (NYSE:WWE).
After the close, results from CBS (NYSE:CBS), Overstock.com (NASDAQ:OSTK), Weight Watchers (NYSE:WTW), Herbalife (NYSE:HLF), Shake Shack (NYSE:SHAK), Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI), Universal Display (NASDAQ:OLED), Pandora (NYSE:P), GoPro (NASDAQ:GPRO), Arista Networks (NYSE:ANET), Sierra Wireless (TO:SW), and Cardinal Health (NYSE:CAH) will be on the agenda.
Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) earnings will also be in focus after Chief Executive Elon Musk on Wednesday cut off analysts asking about profit potential in the company’s first-quarter’s earnings call, sending shares down 4% in after-hours trading, despite promises that production of the troubled Model 3 electric car was on track.
Spotify (NYSE:SPOT) shares, meanwhile, plunged as much as 10% in the extended session, after it released its maiden earnings report since its IPO last month, posting a smaller than expected loss but revenue fell short and guidance disappointed.
4. U.S. Stock Futures Point To Higher Open
U.S. stock futures pointed to a slightly higher open, as investors prepped for another busy day of earnings and economic data.
Stocks closed lower on Wednesday, with the Dow losing about 175 points.
Elsewhere, in Europe, the continent’s major bourses were mostly lower, in a day dominated by earnings updates.
Earlier, in Asia, markets in the region closed mixed, following the uninspiring overnight lead from Wall Street.
5. Euro Zone Inflation Unexpectedly Slips In April
Inflation in the euro zone slowed unexpectedly in April, further undermining the case for the European Central Bank to start scaling back its stimulus program in the coming months.
Both readings were lower than economists had forecast.
The euro was a tad higher at 1.1970 against the dollar, but remained not far from Wednesday’s four-month low.