World stocks mixed as dollar regains footing after slide
HONG KONG: World stocks were mixed Wednesday following a sharp correction in the dollar that sapped investor enthusiasm.
KEEPING SCORE: European shares were uneven in early trading. Germany's DAX rose 0.1 percent to 11,554.09 and Britain's FTSE 100 climbed 0.2 percent to 7.232.39. France's CAC 40 lost 0.3 percent to 4,846.39. US shares were poised to open higher. Dow futures added 0.1 percent to 19,762.00 and broader S&P 500 futures gained 0.1 percent to 2,264.60.
DOLLAR'S DIVE: The dollar leveled off a day after slumping against peers including the yen, euro and pound. One factor behind the currency fluctuations was British Prime Minister Theresa May's speech about Britain's pending departure from the European Union, which soothed investors following months of uncertainty about the plan for an exit following the June vote.
Comments by US President-elect Donald Trump about the dollar being "too strong" and hurting US competitiveness with China also added downward pressure on the greenback. Trump's comments were published in the Wall Street Journal on Monday but had little impact until US investors returned to work Tuesday after a long weekend.
QUOTEWORTHY: Initial investor optimism over Trump's promises to bring in business-friendly policies has been waning as reality sets in, suggested Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG in Singapore.
"The market has been anticipating better clarity into the economic plans of the new administration for months and weeks, expected to come as President-elect Donald Trump steps into office" on Friday, said Pan. "Last Wednesday's press conference and the latest set of comments from ... Trump have probably been a preview for more volatility instead as the market stands ready to adjust expectations."
ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index recouped early losses to end 0.4 percent higher at 18,894.37 while South Korea's Kospi edged 0.1 percent lower to 2,070.54. Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 1.1 percent to 23,098.26 and the Shanghai Composite in mainland China added 0.1 percent to 3,113.01.
Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.4 percent to 5,678.80. Most benchmarks in Southeast Asia advanced.
HONG KONG HIGHER: The Chinese financial hub's benchmark index surged as local stocks were poised to benefit from the dollar's weakness via the city's currency peg to the dollar, which makes shares more attractive for investors and fund managers using other currencies.
CURRENCY TRADING: The British pound, which surged against the dollar after May's speech, eased to $1.2312 from $1.2393 in late trading Tuesday. The dollar edged up to 113.33 yen from 112.79 yen, but is down 1.4 percent for the week so far against the Japanese currency. The euro slipped to $1.0690 from $1.070.
ENERGY: Benchmark US crude oil rose 18 cents to $52.66 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 11 cents, or 0.2 percent, to settle at $52.48 per barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, climbed 20 cents to $55.67.