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Global Stocks Pressured by Weak Data, Tariff Threat

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Asian stocks drop, European shares flat

H&M

gains 7%

Oil prices slip

Global stocks wavered Thursday as expectations of fresh U.S. tariffs on European Union exports added to investor concerns about world economic growth.

The Stoxx Europe 600 was flat in early trade, after suffering its worst performance this year on Wednesday. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei was down 2% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng ticked up 0.1%. Stock markets in China and South Korea were closed on Thursday.

A weak U.S. private-sector jobs report on Wednesday and a plan by the Trump administration to impose tariffs on goods from the EU reignited fears about a global economic downturn. Figures on Tuesday also showed U.S. factory activity falling to its lowest level in over a decade.

“There seems to be some cracks forming in some parts of the U.S. economy and also in investor confidence,” said

Margaret Yang,

a market analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore.

The yield on U.S. 10-year Treasurys dropped to 1.579% on Thursday, from 1.594% on Wednesday. Bond yields and prices move in opposite directions

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Oct. 2, 2019.


Photo:

Richard Drew/Associated Press

The WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the currency against a basket of its peers, ticked up 0.1%.

Among the biggest gainers in Europe was fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz. Its shares gained 7.1% after the company reported its third-quarter earnings, which showed a 6% rise in net sales with a reduction in markdowns helping operating profits.

In commodities, global oil benchmark Brent crude slipped 0.2% to $57.60 per barrel. Gold dropped 0.3%.

Later Thursday, investors will be watching for data on U.S. services activity in September, as well as August factory orders.

Write to Avantika Chilkoti at Avantika.Chilkoti@wsj.com

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Source: WSJ.com: Markets
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