PARIS (Reuters) – Wall Street is heading for new records at the opening on Thursday, but the main European stock markets retreat mid-session, investors seeming to have trouble precisely assessing the fallout from the trade agreement signed the day before by the United States and China.
Futures on the main New York indexes herald an increase of around 0.3% for the Dow Jones and Standard & Poor's 500, which could therefore record new historic highs, and an increase of almost 0.4% for the Nasdaq.
In Paris, the CAC 40 lost 0.11% to 6,025.88 points at 12:00 GMT while it gained more than 0.4% at the start of the session. In London, the FTSE 100 lost 0.43% and in Frankfurt, the Dax fell 0.17%.
The EuroStoxx 50 index was down 0.14%, the FTSEurofirst 300 by 0.07% and the Stoxx 600 by 0.05%.
The MSCI world index is close to equilibrium, very close to the record recorded on Wednesday.
If the signing of the “phase 1” trade agreement between Washington and Beijing has reassured the markets, it does not answer all questions about its concrete benefits and the outcome of discussions between the two leading world economies, which risk to extend until the end of the year.
“We believe that the agreement contributes to creating a favorable climate for risky assets, in particular emerging market equities. But investors must also understand the limits of the agreement. We therefore consider the agreement as a calming factor. partial rather than the end of trade tensions, “says Mark Haefele, chief investment officer of UBS Global Wealth Management, in a note.
The prospect of the opening next week of the trial of Donald Trump's dismissal in Washington is an additional element encouraging caution.
The session on Wall Street will also be animated by a series of economic indicators, including retail sales figures for December. In Europe, investors will study the minutes of the last meeting of the European Central Bank (ECB), expected at 12:30 GMT and which could provide information on the debates of the first Board of Governors chaired by Christine Lagarde.
THE VALUES TO FOLLOW AT WALL STREET
VALUES IN EUROPE
The largest sectoral decline in Europe is for the automotive sector, whose Stoxx index lost 1.54% due in particular to fears of seeing Donald Trump tax car imports in the United States. The downturn spares none of the major players in the sector: Volkswagen lost 2%, BMW 1.99%, Renault 1.85%, Valeo 2.65%.
The most marked decline in the Stoxx 600 is for the British publisher Pearson, whose price fell by 6.53%, the lowest since 2008, after the downward revision of its operating profit target.
On the upside, the utilities compartment (+ 0.41%) was driven by, among other things, the German RWE, which gained 1.94% after the announcement by Berlin of a plan for compensation of around 40 billion euros for regions, companies and employees affected by the announced exit from coal by 2038.
In Paris, Alstom gained 0.32% although the group had reduced its growth and profitability forecasts for the current year. JPMorgan raised its target price, judging the outlook for the sector and the group still promising.
The yield on ten-year US Treasuries is virtually unchanged at 1.7847% pending the US indicators of the day.
In the eurozone, the bond market is at a break, benchmark yields moving slightly below recent two-week peaks, at -0.217% for the German ten-year Bund and 0.041% for the French OAT with the same maturity.
Spreads remain low in the currency market after the recent highs: the dollar fell 0.06% against a benchmark basket and the euro hovered around 1.1160, close to the weekly high recorded on Wednesday at 1.1163.
The yen, considered a good barometer of the appreciation of the risk by the forex traders, retreats against the euro and the dollar.
The Chinese yuan, one of the currencies most sensitive to trade tensions, appreciates against the greenback at 6.8820, not far from the six-month peak reached Tuesday at 6.8662.
The oil market is rising, relieved by the signing of the USA-China agreement, which should encourage Chinese imports of hydrocarbons. Its progress is however limited by forecasts from the International Energy Agency (IEA), which sees world production exceed demand and judges the market safe from a geopolitical shock.
Brent crude oil gained 0.39% to 64.25 dollars a barrel and American light crude oil (West Texas Intermediate, WTI) 0.19% to 57.92 dollars.