World shares mixed: Europe awaits ECB, China GDP lifts Asia

TOKYO – Global shares were mixed on Wednesday as European investors awaited the outcome of the latest regional central bank meeting. Asian markets mostly rose after China reported its economy expanded at a steady 6.7 per cent pace in the July-September quarter.

KEEPING SCORE: Germany’s DAX fell 0.2 per cent to 10,614.29 and the FTSE 100 in Britain lost 0.3 per cent to 6,982.13. France’s CAC 40 was almost flat at 4,508.37. Wall Street also looked set for a slow start, with S&P futures down 0.1 per cent and Dow futures also slightly lower.

CHINA STEADY: The 6.7 per cent annual pace of growth was supported by strong consumer spending that helped offset weakness in trade. That was in line with the two previous quarters and better than some forecasters expected. “We won’t get the full breakdown until tomorrow but we suspect that the key driver was stronger growth in real estate services, on the back of buoyant property sales. Financial sector growth is also likely to have recovered as last year’s equity bubble dropped out of the base for comparison,” Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics said in a commentary.

EDGY IN EUROPE: The European Central Bank head Mario Draghi is to give a news conference Thursday where investors will be watching to see what’s next. The ECB has indicated it will continue bond purchases through next March, and investors are watching for signs of how soon such stimulus might begin to wind down.

WALL STREET GAINS: Surprisingly strong earnings from Netflix, UnitedHealth Group and other companies put investors in a buying mood Tuesday, driving U.S. stocks solidly higher. Health care stocks led the gainers. Materials, utilities, energy and a broad swath of other companies also posted gains. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.4 per cent, to 18,161.94, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index climbed 0.6 per cent to 2,139.60. The Nasdaq composite index surged 0.8 per cent to 5,243.84.

ANALYST VIEWPOINT: “U.S. markets have provided Asia with a healthy platform from which to progress,” Chris Weston of IG said in a report. “We’ve also seen a slew of earnings reports (including Goldman Sachs) and once again whether one is looking at the underlying earnings or the sales lines, companies are beating the analysts’ estimates.”

ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 index rose 0.2 per cent to 16,998.91 and Australia’s S&P ASX/200 added 0.5 per cent to 5,435.40. The Kospi in South Korea jumped was flat at 2,040.94 and Shanghai’s Composite index was also almost unchanged at 3,084.72. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index lost 0.4 per cent to 23,304.97, while India’s Sensex turned around early losses to gain less than 0.1 per cent, at 28,064.65. Shares in Southeast Asia were mostly higher, with Thailand’s SET up 0.9 per cent.

OIL: U.S. benchmark crude oil gained 74 cents to $51.03 a barrel after a report of a drawdown in inventories. It rose 35 cents to $50.29 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, was up 75 cents at $52.43 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 103.47 yen from 103.81 and the euro rose to $1.0999 from $1.0980.