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Global stocks stabilize after Wall Street’s sharp decline

January 31, 2018

A Chinese investor monitors stock prices in a brokerage house in Beijing, Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018. Asian stocks were mixed Wednesday after Wall Street recorded its biggest decline since August. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

BEIJING (AP) — Global stock markets stabilized Wednesday after Wall Street recorded its biggest decline since August the day before, and as investors looked ahead to the Federal Reserve’s policy statement.

KEEPING SCORE: Germany’s DAX rose 0.2 percent to 13,222 and France’s CAC 40 gained 0.3 percent to 5,488 after new figures showed the eurozone’s inflation rate fell, suggesting the European Central Bank may not be hasty in withdrawing its program. London’s FTSE 100 fell 0.1 percent to 7,582. On Wall Street, futures for the Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.6 percent and those for the Standard & Poor’s 500 were up 0.4 percent.

WALL STREET: Losses in health care and technology companies led U.S. stocks sharply lower. The slide erased some of the gains the market had racked up since the beginning of the year, though the market was still on track to close out January with a gain. The S&P fell 1.1 percent — its steepest one-day drop since Aug. 17. The Dow had its biggest decline since May, losing 1.4 percent. The Nasdaq slumped 0.9 percent.

US FOCUS: The state of the union speech by President Donald Trump did little to sway markets but investors will keep an eye on the statement later by the Fed. The central bank is not expected to alter its policies in the last meeting before Chair Janet Yellen ends her term, but investors will keep an eye on its statement for any signs on how quickly it might raise interest rates in the future.

ASIA’S DAY: The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.2 percent to 3,480.83 and Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.8 percent to 23,098.29. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.9 percent to 32,887.27 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 added 0.25 percent to 6,037.70. Seoul’s Kospi shed 1.3 points to 2,566.46 and India’s Sensex lost 0.5 percent to 35,863.61. Benchmarks in New Zealand, Taiwan and Bangkok rose while Singapore and Manila declined.

MANUFACTURING: A monthly survey showed January factory activity in China was lower than expected. The purchasing managers’ index of the official China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing declined to 51.3 from December’s 51.6 on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 show activity expanding. However, Japan’s factory output rose to a nine-year high in December.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 41 cents to $64.09 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract plunged $1.06 on Tuesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, declined 35 cents to $68.67 in London. It lost 68 cents in the previous session.

CURRENCY: The dollar edged up to 108.87 yen from 108.78 yen and the euro advanced to $1.2455 from $1.2403.

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