Global shares: US weaker with oil prices down; Europe firms, Asia gains

United States

US equities slipped Tuesday with weakness in oil prices dragging down energy stocks, offset in part by strength in chipmakers. The Dow industrials fell 0.4 percent, the S&P 500 declined 0.3 percent, and the NASDAQ slipped 0.03 percent.

Technology shares advanced with semiconductors leading on an upbeat report from Microchip Technology. Oil prices retreated on profit-taking after recent gains spurred by worries about potential supply disruptions in light of US-Iran tensions. Haliburton, the oil exploration and production company, fell 2.8 percent.

Among companies in the news, Microchip Technology, the semiconductor company, rose 6.7 percent after raising its revenue guidance. It also reported strong global bookings in December, and said its sales in the current have bottomed out. Another winner was Apellis Pharmaceuticals, up 28 percent, after announcing positive clinical trial results for its anemia treatment. Apache, the oil exploration and production company, bounced up 27 percent on news of a big oil discovery.

In US economic news, fourth-quarter GDP is getting a significant lift from net exports following a narrower-than-expected $43.1 billion deficit in November and a downward revised $46.9 billion deficit in October. Separately, ISM's non-manufacturing index came in on the high side of expectations, at 55.0 for December versus Econoday's consensus for 54.5 and up 1.1 points from November.

These data reflect observations at 4:00 PM US ET: Dated Brent spot crude oil fell 16 cents to US$68.16, while gold was up US$5.70 at US$1,573.20. The US dollar rose against most currencies. The US Treasury 30-year bond yield rose 2 basis points to 2.31 percent while the 10-year note yield rose 1 basis point to 1.82 percent.


European equities were flat to higher Tuesday on positive economic data and as Mideast worries faded. The Europe-wide STOXX 600 rose 0.3 percent, the German DAX gained 0.8 percent, but the French CAC eased 0.02 percent, and the UK FTSE-100 declined 0.02 percent.

Microchip stocks rose in response to a favorable sales report from Microchip Technology, the US bellwether. STMicroelectronics, the Italian chipmaker, rose 2.5 percent, while Infineon of Germany rose 5 percent. Fiat Chrysler rose 1.3 percent as automakers outperformed.

In economic news, Eurozone retail sales rebounded strongly in November. Following a smaller revised 0.3 percent monthly fall in October, volumes rose a much larger than expected 1.0 percent, only their second monthly increase since June. Annual growth climbed from 1.7 percent to 2.2 percent.

Asia Pacific

Major Asian markets advanced Tuesday, with regional investor sentiment boosted by modest gains overnight on Wall Street and some easing in global oil prices. Japanese markets outperformed, the Nikkei and Topix indices both rising 1.6 percent on the day, while Australia's All Ordinaries index also posted a solid increase of 1.3 percent. The Shanghai Composite index rose 0.7 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed up 0.3 percent.

The regional data calendar was light Tuesday. The Market PMI survey for Japan's services sector showed a fall in its business activity index to 49.4 in December, well below the flash estimate of 50.6 and confirming a decline from 50.3 in November. With the equivalent survey for the manufacturing sector, published earlier in the week, also showing a fall in its headline index, the composite index fell from to 49.8 in November to 48.6 in December, its lowest level in more than three years and indicating contraction across the private sector of the Japanese economy for the third consecutive month.

Looking ahead*

On Wednesday in Europe, German manufacturers' orders, French merchandise trade, UK Halifax home prices, and Eurozone EC economic sentiment releases are scheduled. In North America, US ADP employment, and US consumer credit figures will be released.

Global Stock Market Recap

Global Bond Market Recap

Global Currency Recap

Commodities and currencies