Stock markets were mostly down on Wednesday as investors struggled to find a traditional “Santa rally” in the final days of the year.
The “Santa rally” is a seven-session stretch over Christmas and the New Year that typically sees stocks rise amid light trading volumes.
London’s FTSE 100, back after a four-day Christmas break, ended 0.3 percent higher than Friday’s close, but most other major markets fell.
“Checking Santa, he hasn’t left the building, but he seems a little bit stuck in a revolving door,” Briefing.com analyst Patrick O’Hare said.
Wall Street stocks fell
After rising at the open, Wall Street stocks fell as US Treasury yields, a gauge of Federal Reserve interest rates, rose again.
Investors have worried about the risk of recession as central banks have raised interest rates in their efforts to curb inflation. Rising borrowing costs lead to slower economic activity.
“There is not much confidence or appetite for riskier assets among investors and traders,” Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Avatrade, told AFP.
“We are more likely to see this trend continue with very little volume in the market,” Aslam said.
China’s moves to reopen also reignited inflation concerns.
Beijing has sharply reversed the pandemic restrictions that kept the world’s second-largest economy in isolation since 2020.
On Monday, Beijing announced it would end quarantine measures for overseas arrivals from January 8, the latest move to loosen its zero-Covid regime, after abandoning testing and lockdowns mandatory at the beginning of this month.
The removal of borders in China has raised hopes for its economic revival.
“The good news is that inflation is easing as China embraces its role as a global supplier of low-cost goods and supply chain bottlenecks are eased,” said analyst Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management.
However, he also warned that accelerating demand from China would push up commodity prices, further fueling global inflation.
Hong Kong investors
Meanwhile, Hong Kong shares jumped as investors digested the Covid news from Beijing on the first day of trading after the Christmas break.
Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee also announced further easing of the city’s remaining Covid measures.
Elsewhere, oil prices fell as traders weighed the potential impact of China’s reopening and Russia’s crude export ban against buyers enforcing a nation-imposed price cap westerners
New York – Down: 0.5 percent to 33,060.85 points
EURO STOXX 50: Down 0.6 percent at 3,808.82
London – FTSE 100: UP 0.3% to 7,497.19 (close)
Frankfurt – DAX: DOWN 0.5% to 13,925.60 (close)
Paris – CAC 40: DOWN 0.6% to 6,510.49 (close)
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.4% to 26,340.50 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng index: up 1.6 percent to 19,898.91 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.3% to 3,087.40 (close)
Euro/Dollar: DOWN at $1.0624 from $1.0640 on Tuesday
Pound/Dollar: UP to $1.2036 from $1.2025
Euro/pound: DOWN at 88.28 cents from 88.48 cents
Dollar/yen: UP to 134.23 yen from 133.49 yen
West Texas Intermediate: Down 1.7 percent at $78.17 a barrel
Brent North Sea crude: Down 1.6 percent at $83.31 a barrel