European stocks get a boost from buoyant earnings
But Chinese property sector tumbles on fears of widening crisis as Modern Land defaults on payment
London — Shares made slim gains around the world on Tuesday, with upbeat corporate earnings buoying European shares and outweighing recurring worries about China’s property sector.
The broad Euro Stoxx 600 hit its highest in seven weeks, adding 0.5%, with German stocks gaining 0.9%.
After a stellar quarter for US and British banks, Switzerland’s UBS rose more than 2% on its highest quarterly profit since 2015, helping the financial services sector climb about 1%.
Wall Street futures were up 0.3%, with the earnings season reaching its peak and tech heavyweights including Apple and Alphabet due to report later.
Still, some analysts voiced caution about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on supply chains.
“Even though this has been a good earnings season in aggregate we are starting to see more companies with supply backlogs, hiring difficulties, and rising input prices that are eating into profits,” Deutsche Bank analysts wrote.
The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 50 countries, added 0.1%
Asian stocks had earlier followed Wall Street’s record highs overnight, before giving up their gains. Electric car maker Tesla had boosted Wall Street after it joined the $1-trillion market capitalisation club.
MSCI’s gauge of Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan was flat after briefly touching its highest in six weeks, following gains throughout October.
Weighing on the market were Chinese property stocks, which extended losses as another developer, Modern Land, defaulted on a payment, adding to worries about the effects of the debt crisis at China Evergrande Group.
Hong Kong-listed mainland property firms dropped 5% while the mainland CSI 300 real estate index fell 2.8%. China has said it will roll out a pilot real-estate tax in some regions, adding to existing concerns about the sector.
Some analysts voiced concern at the drag on global growth from a slowdown in the world’s second biggest economy. Citi strategist Robert Buckland said the bank had cut its 2022 global real GDP growth forecast to 4.2% from 4.4%.
“The impact of the China slowdown is becoming increasingly evident in other Asian economies, but also in Europe where the Germany growth forecast has been cut from 5.2% to 3.5%,” he wrote, warning of “a deeper and longer Chinese slowdown”.
The US dollar index held at 93.932 — between a one-year high of 94.563 hit earlier in the month and a one-month low of 93.483 on Monday.
Analysts expect it might stay there through a slew of central bank meetings in coming days. The European Central Bank (ECB) and Bank of Japan are both set to hold monetary policy meetings on Thursday, though neither is expected to take major action on interest rates.
Eurozone inflation expectations among bond investors opened at a new seven-year high, shooting past the ECB’s target, leading to speculation that its pandemic-era stimulus was unsustainable.
Benchmark 10-year US Treasury notes were steady at 1.6388%, off last week’s five month top of 1.7% as uncertainty about when the Federal Reserve would raise rates to curb rising inflation weighed on market sentiment.
Already nudging multiyear highs, oil prices rose marginally in a market gripped by tight global supply and strengthening fuel demand in the US and beyond.
Brent crude futures fell 0.4% to $85.68 a barrel, while the US West Texas Intermediate edged 0.01% higher to $83.76 a barrel.
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