Stock markets falter, oil prices fall

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Stock markets swayed on Monday as investors tracked a series of corporate earnings reports while oil prices fell on worries about Chinese demand.

London’s FTSE 100, Paris’ CAC 40 and Frankfurt’s DAX were flat in afternoon trading after drifting earlier in the day.

Wall Street opened lower on the first day of August after a strong July.

Asian stock markets ended higher despite another disappointing reading on the health of the Chinese economy.

The closely watched Purchasing Managers’ Index for manufacturing activity fell in July on weak demand and strict zero-Covid measures imposed in parts of the country.

While drastic curbs have eased in major centers such as Shanghai and Beijing, sporadic shutdowns in other cities and towns have worried businesses and consumers with few signs of the policy easing.

Chinese data sent oil prices tumbling, with the international benchmark, Brent, dropping just under $100 a barrel while the main US contract, WTI, fell 5% to around $94.

“Oil prices were under pressure after weak Chinese manufacturing figures which really show the continued impact of the lockdowns on the country’s economy,” said AJ Bell chief investment officer Russ Mould.

“China remains one of the biggest consumers of oil and other raw materials.” Mold says.

Traders are also awaiting another exit decision from the OPEC+ group of major crude-producing nations on Wednesday.

– HSBC “bullish” –

In corporate news, Asia-focused lender HSBC gave another boost with a “bullish” outlook, alongside plans to return to quarterly shareholder dividends next year.

HSBC shares jumped 7% in the British capital.

Other major corporate earnings reports this week include oil giant BP, U.S.-based Uber, Japanese automaker Toyota and Chinese tech giant Alibaba.

Strong earnings from US titans Amazon and Apple last week sparked healthy gains on Wall Street and eased concerns about the economic impact of soaring inflation and rising rates.

It came after investors took comments from Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell on Wednesday to indicate that the US central bank could begin to ease its monetary tightening, giving stocks a much-needed boost.

The Bank of England is expected to raise interest rates by an exceptional 0.5 percentage point on Thursday to combat soaring inflation.

“The sharp rises by the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank in July make it all the more likely that they will pull the trigger on an outsized rate hike,” the Markets analyst told AFP. .com Neil Wilson.

Global central banks are raising borrowing costs in an attempt to rein in runaway consumer price inflation.

– Key figures around 1:40 p.m. GMT –

London – FTSE 100: FLAT at 7,422.33 points

Frankfurt – DAX: APARTMENT at 13,491.18

Paris – CAC 40: FLAT at 6,446.18

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.1% to 3,703.75

New York – Dow: DOWN 0.4% to 32,723.31

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: 0.7% higher at 27,993.35 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng Index: UP 0.1% to 20,165.84 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.2% to 3,259.96 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0255 against $1.0228 on Friday

Pound/dollar: UP to $1.2260 from $1.2189

Euro/pound: DOWN to 83.64 pence vs. 83.89 pence

Dollar/yen: FALL to 131.93 yen against 133.25 yen

North Sea Brent Crude: DOWN 3.9% to $99.94 a barrel

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 5.0% to $93.64 a barrel

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