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Stock futures are little changed Wednesday night after U.S. downgrade spurs a sell-off:

33 Mins Ago

European equity markets open lower

European markets opened lower as investors continue to assess earnings season and await the Bank of England’s rate decision, expected midday Thursday.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was down 0.6% around market open, with most sectors trading in negative territory. Tech stocks led losses, with a 1.8% downturn, followed by financial services, which dropped 1.4%. Bank stocks bucked the trend and were up 0.1% in early trade.

European markets

.FTSE FTSE 100 7,465.49 -96.14 -1.27%
.GDAXI DAX 15,845.13 -174.89 -1.09%
.FCHI CAC 40 Index 7,230.45 -82.39 -1.13%
.FTMIB FTSE MIB 28,617.50 -357.04 -1.23%
.IBEX IBEX 35 Idx 9,282.00 -46.70 -0.50%

4 Hours Ago

China services sector activity expands for seventh straight month

China’s service sector activity expanded at a stronger pace in July, according to the Caixin survey compiled by S&P Global.

The service sector purchasing managers index came in at 54.1, a slight increase from the 53.9 seen in June.

The survey report explained that the stronger growth was due to business activity across the sector rising solidly overall.

This was also supported by a “marked and accelerated” rise in overall new business, which encouraged firms to expand their payroll numbers for the sixth month in a row.

— Lim Hui Jie

4 Hours Ago

Australia trade surplus in July higher than expected as both imports and exports fall

Australia’s trade surplus slipped to 11.3 billion Australian dollars ($7.4 billion) in June, down from AU$11.7 billion in May.

However, this was higher than the AU$11 billion forecasted by a Reuters poll.

Exports from the country fell 2% mainly due to a fall in other mineral fuels, which includes liquefied natural gas.

Meanwhile, imports fell 4% compared to May, driven by a fall in non-industrial transport equipment.

— Lim Hui Jie

6 Hours Ago

Hong Kong business activity contracts for the first time in 2023

Hong Kong’s business activity fell into contraction territory for the first time in 2023, according to private surveys from S&P Global.

The purchasing managers index for July came in at 49.4, in contrast to the expansionary figure of 50.3 seen in June.

S&P Global said a renewed decline in overall new orders resulted in lower output in July. However, the report also pointed out the pace of business activity contraction was mild, “with new business from abroad and Mainland China remaining in growth.”

— Lim Hui Jie

6 Hours Ago

Kakao net profit slumps 44% year-on-year in second quarter

South Korean internet giant Kakao Corporation saw its profits tumble by 44% year on year in the second quarter to 56.3 billion South Korean won ($43.4 million).

The company explained that the fall in profits were from a high base due to a stock disposal gain seen in the same period last year.

On a quarter-on-quarter basis, net profit slid 12%. Still, revenue for the second quarter increased 12% year on year to 2.04 trillion won.

This is also the first quarter after Kakao subsidiary Kakao Entertainment acquired a 39.9% stake in K-pop agency SM Entertainment, ending a high profile takeover battle with entertainment rival Hybe, which manages supergroup BTS

— Lim Hui Jie

2 Hours Ago

European markets: Here are the opening calls

European markets are expected to open mixed Thursday, according to IG data. Britain’s FTSE is anticipated to move 16.7 points higher to 7553.8, Germany’s DAX 2.5 points higher to 16,007.2, and France’s CAC up 2 points to 7305.5.

Italy’s MIB is expected to fall 59.5 points to 29,043.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

8 Hours Ago

Growing bullishness “now an increasing concern,” Investors Intelligence warns

Through Monday’s trading, at any rate, bullish “sentiment continues to show more optimism, with the reading now clearly in the initial caution zone,” the weekly Investors Intelligence survey of financial newsletter editors and advisors said.

Bullish opinion grew to 57.1% of those polled, up from 55.6% a week ago and only a hair below the November 2021 peak of 57.2% that foreshadowed the January 2022 all-time high in stocks. “The bull count now exceeds the 55% initial caution level, which says to prepare a more defensive strategy,” II warned.

Bearish opinion narrowed to 18.6% from 19.4% last week, while the “correction” camp, expecting a short-term pullback in prices, dropped to 24.3% from 25.0%.  

The so-called “bull-bear spread” widened again, to 38.5 points — the highest since the summer of 2021 —from 36.2 points the past two weeks, and above the recent top of 36.6 points dating from the end of June 2023. In mid-May, the spread was just 21 points, and a difference above 30 points “is the first sign of elevated risk” for contrarian advisors going against the crowd, II said.

– Scott Schnipper

9 Hours Ago

Stock futures open little changed

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