European and Wall Street stocks mostly rose on Monday, August 17, following strong United States housing data, but worries about tensions with Beijing together with a stalemate on a new fiscal package for the beleaguered American economy limited gains.
The Nasdaq jumped 1% to another fresh record, leading the major US indices, including the Dow, which closed lower.
Earlier, bourses in London, Paris, and Frankfurt all notched modest gains.
The Nasdaq has posted new records more than 30 times this year, including several in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak that has driven millions of people to shift to working from home and boosting demand for products such as videoconferencing, video games, and movie streaming.
Nasdaq firms with especially large gains on Monday included gaming company Activision Blizzard, online payments provider PayPal, and biotech firm Amgen.
Analysts pointed to loose US monetary policy and positive housing data as other supportive factors to stocks during Monday’s session, while low borrowing rates have buoyed homebuilders.
But market watchers fretted about a continued stalemate in Congress on a new spending package. Democrats and Republicans are also sparring over funding for the US Postal Service, which is expected to see an exceptional number of mail-in ballots in November’s election because of the coronavirus.
Troubled by tensions
Concerns over US-China relations were stoked again after high-level talks between Washington and Beijing on the status of their “phase one” trade agreement did not take place as planned on Saturday, August 15, with no new date set.
China on Monday slammed Washington for using “digital gunboat diplomacy” after US President Donald Trump ordered TikTok’s Chinese owner ByteDance to sell its interest in the Musical.ly app it bought and merged with TikTok.
Later Monday, the US administration expanded its sanctions on China’s Huawei.
A Commerce Department statement added 38 Huawei affiliates around the world to the “entity list,” claiming that the company was using international subsidiaries to circumvent the sanctions which prevent export of US-based technology.
Uncertainty over the status of US-China trade talks “has added to the frosty situation,” noted David Madden, analyst at CMC Markets UK.
“The lack of agreement between Republicans and Democrats in relation to the stimulus deal remains a concern too.”
Tokyo stocks pull back
In Asia, Tokyo’s main stocks index closed down 0.8% on Monday after data showed a record contraction of the Japanese economy in the 2nd quarter.
“Investors cashed in on recent gains,” said Toshikazu Horiuchi, a broker at IwaiCosmo Securities.
“GDP (gross domestic product) figures were largely within expectations” but reconfirmed the sizable impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the Japanese economy, Horiuchi told Agence France-Presse.
The April-June GDP figures showed that the economy shrank a record 7.8% quarter-on-quarter, the worst contraction in the nation’s modern history.
Key figures around 8:50 pm GMT
- New York – Dow: DOWN 0.3% at 27,844.91 (close)
- New York – S&P 500: UP 0.3% at 3,381.99 (close)
- New York – Nasdaq: UP 1% at 11,129.73 (close)
- London – FTSE 100: UP 0.6% at 6,127.44 (close)
- Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.2% at 12,920.66 (close)
- Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.2% at 4,971.94 (close)
- EURO STOXX 50: FLAT at 3,305.85 (close)
- Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.8% at 23,096.75 (close)
- Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 0.7% at 25,347.34 (close)
- Shanghai – Composite: UP 2.3% at 3,438.80 (close)
- Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1876 from $1.1842 at 9 pm GMT
- Dollar/yen: DOWN at 105.99 yen from 106.60 yen
- Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3107 from $1.3086
- Euro/pound: UP at 90.58 pence from 90.50 pence
- West Texas Intermediate: UP 2.1% at $42.89 per barrel
- Brent North Sea crude: UP 1.3% at $45.37 per barrel