BEIJING, China – Global stocks were mixed Wednesday amid optimism about a possible Chinese recovery and concern over a possible U.S. attack on Syria.
Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index, the regional heavyweight, shed early gains to flatten out at 14,425.07 points while China’s benchmark Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.2 per cent to 2,241.27. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.2 per cent to 22,937.14 and South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.5 per cent to 2,003.85.
In Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.1 per cent to 6,575.96 in early trading. Germany’s DAX added 0.3 per cent to 8,468.15 while France’s CAC-40 shed 0.2 per cent to 4,107.38.
Traders were encouraged by signs China, an important market for its Asian neighbours, is recovering from its deepest economic slump since the 2008 global crisis. Data on Tuesday showed Chinese auto sales, factory output and investment all improved in August.
Those indicators “cemented the view that the China economy has stabilized,” said DBS Bank in a report.
Citigroup raised its China growth forecast for the current quarter to 7.8 per cent from 7.4 per cent but warned that the rebound could be short-lived.
Sydney’s S&P ASX 200 gained 0.6 per cent to 5,234.40 and India’s Sensex shed 0.3 per cent to 19,937.19. Benchmarks in Singapore and Indonesia fell while those in New Zealand and the Philippines rose.
Optimism was tempered by President Barack Obama’s comments in a speech Tuesday that he had told the American military to stay prepared to attack Syria if needed.
That came after tensions that had pushed up oil prices eased Monday on hopes for a diplomatic solution following Syria’s announcement it would accept a Russian plan to turn over its chemical weapons.
Concern over Syria had spooked investors who worry about Middle East tensions disrupting oil supplies.
On Wednesday, benchmark crude rose 36 cents to $107.74 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $2.13 to close at $107.39 on the Nymex on Tuesday.
In the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial average future gained 0.1 per cent while the Standard & Poor’s 500 was flat in electronic trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
In currency markets, the dollar fell to 100.22 yen from 100.39 yen late Tuesday. The euro rose to $1.3272 from $1.3265.
Investors also are looking ahead to next week’s meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserve. The central bank is widely expected to announce plans to start phasing out its support program for the U.S. economy.