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S&P 500, Nasdaq end at records on mixed day for global stocks

·3-min read
Empty vials of the COVID-19 vaccine of Pfizer-BioNTech stand in a vaccination bus that is parked in the small village of Unterschleissheim near Munich, southern Germany, as Germany battles the latest spike in Covid-19 cases (AFP/Christof STACHE)

Global stocks were mixed Thursday as investors applauded some positive earnings while assessing worries over rising inflation and a resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq ended at fresh highs after a choppy session, but the Dow declined, joining bourses in Frankfurt, Paris and elsewhere.

"I feel like we're in a bit of a wait-and-see mode at the moment," OANDA senior market analyst Craig Erlam told AFP.

With a strong earnings season mostly complete, markets are weighing the potential "downside risks" of a slew of issues -- from high energy prices to central bank decisions on interest rates to rising Covid-19 cases in the US and Europe, Erlam said.

German leaders agreed tough new curbs on the unvaccinated, with plans to shut them out of restaurants, sporting events and cultural shows as the country battles to halt a record rise in Covid infections.

Other uncertainties for stocks include questions on whether US President Biden will reappoint Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and the prospects for Biden's giant package to address climate change and shore up the US safety net.

Inflation has surged worldwide, raising concerns that central banks will raise interest rates sooner than expected to prevent economies from over-heating.

But European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde said this week that the ECB did not expect to move next year, in contrast to the Bank of England and the US Federal Reserve which are expected to tighten sooner.

While eurozone inflation will hit a record high in November, it is expected to decline over the course of next year, a senior ECB policymaker predicted on Wednesday.

In the United States, new data showed a very slight decline in new unemployment claims last week, an unsurprising result indicating the labor market continues to recover from last year's pandemic downturn.

US markets were lifted by outsized gains from large tech companies, including Apple and Amazon, along with chip company Nvidia, which shot up more than eight percent following strong earnings.

But Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, proved an exception among large tech companies, falling 0.6 percent on news that a group of US states are probing allegations that Instagram supplied the photo-sharing platform to children despite knowing of potential harm.

The probe is the latest ripple effect from congressional testimony of former Facebook employee Frances Haugen, who also has leaked documents about alleged malfeasance by the social media giant to lawmakers and reporters.

- Key figures around 2145 GMT -

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.2 percent at 35,870.95 (close)

New York - S&P 500: UP 0.3 percent at 4,704.54 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: UP 0.5 percent at 15,993.71 (close)

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.5 percent at 7,255.96 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX: DOWN 0.2 percent at 16,221.73 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.2 percent at 7,141.98 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.4 percent at 4,383.70 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.3 percent at 29,598.66 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 1.3 percent at 25,319.72 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.5 percent at 3,520.71 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1374 from $1.1319 at 2200 GMT

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3501 from $1.3487

Euro/pound: UP at 84.22 pence from 83.93 pence

Dollar/yen: UP at 114.24 yen from 114.08 yen

Brent North Sea crude: UP 1.2 percent at $81.24 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.8 percent at $79.01 per barrel

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