World Economy

European Stocks Decline, Asian Markets Rise

European Stocks Decline, Asian Markets RiseEuropean Stocks Decline, Asian Markets Rise
Mounting tensions between North Korea and the United States have kept US investors cautious

European stocks declined while most Asian markets rose Friday ahead of the first round of voting in France’s closely watched presidential election.

In early trading, France’s CAC-40 retreated 0.6% to 5,043.53 and London’s FTSE-100 shed just under 0.1% to 7,124.36. Germany’s DAX was little-changed at 12,023.01. On Wall Street, the future for the Standard & Poor’s 500 index was up 0.1% while that for the Dow Jones industrial average was unchanged.

French voters will choose among 11 candidates Sunday in the first round of a presidential election that has the country and financial markets on edge, especially after a shooting on Paris’ Champs-Elysees boulevard that killed a police officer and wounded three other people, news outlets reported.

US stock index futures were little changed on Friday as investors stayed away from making big bets ahead of the first round of the French presidential elections over the weekend.

Major US indexes have fallen for two straight weeks as worries about President Donald Trump’s ability to deliver on his pro-growth promises raised some concern about stretched stock valuations.

However, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said an overhaul of the tax code will be unveiled very soon. Mounting tensions between North Korea and the United States have also kept US investors cautious. US stocks rallied on Thursday, with the Nasdaq closing at a record high, driven by a round of solid earnings.

Of the 82 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings through Thursday afternoon, about 75% have topped expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data, above the 71% average for the past four quarters.

Overall, profits of S&P 500 companies are estimated to have risen 11.1% in the quarter, the best since 2011.

Mnuchin, speaking at an IMF event, said the Trump administration’s plan for tax changes will come “very soon.” Mnuchin’s goal of getting it passed by Congress’s August recess has slipped. He said the administration still hoped to get a measure through Congress well before the end of the year. Mnuchin is also working on proposals to overhaul regulations put in place by the Dodd-Frank Act passed after the 2008 financial crisis. He said he would have a report with recommendations for the president by June that would address major issues in changing the law.

US stocks climbed on Friday as corporate results left investors feeling better about the economy. Industrial companies, banks, technology and materials firms and energy companies all rallied. Railroad operator CSX gave transportation companies like railroads and airlines a big boost while Sherwin-Williams raised its annual projections and helped basic materials makers go higher.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.9% to 20,578.81. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index advanced 0.8% to 2,355.84. The Nasdaq composite gained 0.9% to a new high of 5,916.78.

In Asia, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 gained just over 1% to 18,620.75 and Seoul’s Kospi added 0.7% to 2,165.04. The Shanghai Composite Index was little-changed at 3,173.15 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 rose 0.6% to 5,854.10. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.1% to 24,042.02 and India’s Sensex retreated 0.3% to 29,315.79. Benchmarks in New Zealand, Taiwan and Southeast Asia also rose.

Benchmark US crude shed 7 cents to $50.64 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 14 cents on Thursday to close at $50.71. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 2 cents to $52.97. It rose 6 cents the previous session to $52.99.

The dollar declined to 109.09 yen from Thursday’s 109.32 yen. The euro fell to $1.070 from $1.071.

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