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Stock market today: Global stocks are mixed after Wall Street edges to more records

By ZIMO ZHONG, Associated Press
Published: June 19, 2024, 9:40am

HONG KONG — World stocks were mixed on Wednesday after U.S. benchmarks ticked to more records following the latest signs that the U.S. economy may be slowing without falling into recession.

The future for the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.1 percent while that for the S&P 500 rose 0.1 percent. U.S. markets are closed on Wednesday in observance of Juneteenth.

European equity markets opened lower. In London, the FTSE 100 lost 0.2 percent to 8,177.86 after data showed that British inflation fell to the central bank’s 2 percent target for the first time in nearly three years. The data also backed the market’s expectation that the Bank of England would hold the rate at 5.25 percent in the coming meeting on Thursday.

Germany’s DAX slipped 0.1 percent to 18,109.65, while the CAC 40 in Paris shed 0.2 percent to 7,615.76.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index climbed 0.2 percent to 38,570.76 as Japan’s trade data for May showed exports rose 13.5 percent while imports were up 9.5 percent from a year earlier, pushed higher by rising prices and the weaker value of the yen against the U.S. dollar.

Minutes from the Bank of Japan’s latest policy meeting showed a debate among its decision makers over whether the yen’s weakness may push inflation still higher. Governor Kazuo Ueda has hinted at raising the benchmark interest rate in coming months, depending on economic data at the time.

“Moves in the Nikkei have reflected much indecision in place, with the index trading in a broad consolidation phase thus far,” IG Asia said in a commentary.

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 2.9 percent to 18,430.39, while the Shanghai Composite index lost 0.4 percent to 3,018.05 after the head of China’s securities watchdog said at a financial forum in Shanghai that the agency would be enhancing oversight of all financial activities to prevent potential risks.

In Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 edged 0.1 percent lower to 7,769.70. South Korea’s Kospi surged 1.2 percent to 2,797.33.

Elsewhere, Taiwan’s Taiex gained 2 percent, while Bangkok’s SET fell 1 percent.

On Tuesday, the S&P 500 added 0.3 percent to 5,487.03, setting an all-time high for the 31st time this year. The Nasdaq composite edged up by less than 0.1 percent to 17,862.23. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.2 percent to 38,834.86.

Nvidia once again was the star, gaining 3.5 percent and acting as the strongest force pushing the S&P 500 upward. It lifted its total market value further above $3 trillion, again.

The Commerce Department reported that retail sales rose 0.1 percent in May, below the pace that economists projected, while April sales were revised downward — a 0.2 percent decline, from unchanged.

That might signal that the main engine of the U.S. economy, spending by households, is cracking. Inflation is still high, even if it’s slowed since its peak, and lower-income households in particular are struggling to keep up with higher prices.

In other dealings Wednesday, U.S. benchmark crude oil gave up 15 cents to $80.56 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Brent crude lost 17 cents to $85.16 per barrel.

The dollar fell to 157.76 Japanese yen from 157.87 yen. The euro slipped to $1.0736 from $1.0738.