Global stocks mostly gained Thursday after U.S. presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump debated economic policy. Investors were awaiting the outcome of a European Central Bank meeting.
KEEPING SCORE: In early trading, Germany’s DAX gained 0.2 percent to 10,670.60 and France’s CAC-40 advanced 0.1 percent to 4,525.27. London’s FTSE 100 declined 0.1 percent to 7,013.79. On Wednesday, the CAC-40 and FTSE 100 gained 0.3 percent and the DAX rose 0.1 percent. On Wall Street, the future for the Dow Jones industrial average declined 0.1 percent while that for the Standard & Poor’s 500 was unchanged. On Wednesday, the Dow and S&P both added 0.2 percent while the Nasdaq composite index rose 0.1 percent.
CLINTON VS TRUMP: In their third debate, the candidates sparred over plans to spur U.S. economic growth. Trump, who has rattled markets by calling for curbs on trade and immigration, said he would hire experts, and not “political hacks,” to negotiate more favorable trade deals. Clinton, seen as more favorable to trade, said she was focused on helping the middle class, while Trump’s plans are geared toward the rich.
ANALYSTS’ TAKE: “The presidential debate is a must watch for investors in the Asia Pacific region,” said Michael McCarthy of CMC Markets in a report. “One of the six topics is the U.S. economy, and any clarification of policy in this area could influence trading today. Secondly, a clear win for either candidate is important. Markets are likely to buy Clinton and sell Trump.”
EURO ZONE WATCH: Markets looked ahead to a meeting of the euro zone central bank for insight into its intentions for its 1.7 trillion euro ($1.9 trillion) bond-buying stimulus program. Most analysts think that while the European Central Bank will stick to its policies, governor Mario Draghi will leave open the possibility of extending its bond-buying program, which is meant to increase lending, growth and inflation. Analysts think the ECB will wait at least until December’s meeting to make any decision.
U.S. JOBS: Investors awaited U.S. jobless data for signs of when the Federal Reserve might raise interest rates. Last week’s 246,000 unemployment claims took the four-week moving average below 250,000. Rising employment would support the Fed in plans to hike interest rates that been kept near zero since the 2008 global crisis. “Wages started to rise in early 2015 and with luck will continue north in the months ahead,” said DBS Bank in a report. “Not for nothing do many officials feel that policy rates should do the same.”
ASIA’S DAY: Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 rose 1.4 percent to 17,235.50 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.3 percent to 23,374.40. The Shanghai Composite Index was unchanged at 3,084.46. Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 advanced 0.1 percent to 5,442.10 and India’s Sensex gained 0.5 percent to 28,113.74. Seoul’s Kospi also was unchanged at 2,040.60. Benchmarks in New Zealand, Singapore and Indonesia declined while Thailand advanced.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude shed 43 cents to $51.38 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract surged $1.20 on Wednesday to close at $51.82. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 35 cents to $52.32 in London. It gained 99 cents the previous session to $52.67.
CURRENCY: The dollar gained to 103.67 yen from Thursday’s 103.38 yen. The euro edged up to $1.0976 from $1.0973.