Investors are awaiting follow-through on the partial trade agreement announced last month between the US and China
New York (AFP) - European stocks rose Wednesday following better economic data, while Wall Street treaded water as investors awaited clear signs of progress on US-China trade talks.
German investors were cheered by a rebound in industrial orders in September, while the French services sector posted growth in October on the back of stronger foreign demand.
In the US, investors remained uneasy over the lack of tangible headway in the US-China talks after the two sides announced a preliminary verbal agreement on trade last month and Washington held off on tariff increases.
Wednesday reports that the United States and China might delay a meeting to formalize the agreement rankled investors, pressuring major indices that had notched fresh records in recent days.
“Given that 80 percent of the rally since September is based on the improvement in trade, it is natural that investors would be a little nervous each time the meeting gets pushed back,” said Gregori Volokhine of Meeschaert Financial Services.
The S&P 500 edged higher, but the Nasdaq retreated and the Dow was flat.
“The baseline view remains that a partial deal of some kind will be reached soon but with the absence of pen to paper to sign a deal, past history suggests market participants can’t take that fully for granted,” analyst Patrick O’Hare wrote at Briefing.com.
“Hence, some of the upward momentum linked to trade deal optimism has ebbed.”
Petroleum-linked shares were decisively lower after a US inventory report showed a surprising build in oil supplies.
Analysts also cited residual skepticism about the US-China trade agreement as a factor weighing down oil prices.
Among individual companies, HP Inc. surged 6.4 percent following reports that Xerox is considering acquiring the technology company. Xerox gained 3.6 percent.
CVS Health jumped 5.4 percent after it lifted its full-year profit forecast following a strong performance across its pharmacy business.
- Key figures around 2130 GMT -
New York - Dow: FLAT at 27,492.56 (close)
New York - S&P 500: UP 0.1 percent at 3,076.78 (close)
New York - Nasdaq: DOWN 0.3 percent at 8,410.63 (close)
London - FTSE 100: UP 0.1 percent at 7,396.65 (close)
Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.2 percent at 13,179.89 (close)
Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.3 percent at 5,866.74 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.3 percent at 3,688.74 (close)
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.2 percent at 23,303.82 (close)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng: FLAT at 27,688.64 (close)
Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.4 percent at 2,978.60 (close)
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1068 from $1.1075 at 2100 GMT
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 108.97 yen from 109.16 yen
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2854 from $1.2884
Euro/pound: UP at 86.11 pence from 85.96 pence
Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 1.9 percent at $61.74 per barrel
West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 1.5 percent at $56.35 per barrel