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World shares mixed after Trump calls halt to stimulus talks

(Reuters-Yonhap)
(Reuters-Yonhap)
AP -- World shares were mostly lower on Wednesday after US President Donald Trump ordered a stop to talks on another round of aid for the economy. 

US futures were up slightly after dropping on Trump's announcement the day before. Markets were down slightly in Germany, France and Japan but closed higher in Hong Kong.

Hours after his tweets about ending the stimulus talks, Trump appeared to edge back a bit, calling on Congress to send him a "Stand Alone Bill for Stimulus Checks ($1,200).'' 

Trump's announcement via Twitter that he was suspending the talks until after the election came after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell urged Congress to come through with more aid, saying that too little support ''would lead to a weak recovery, creating unnecessary hardship.''

Some analysts characterized Trump's move as likely a negotiating ploy. 

"I do not believe hopes of a stimulus deal are now gone forever," said Jeffrey Halley of trading and research firm Oanda. 

"One of Mr. Trump's favorite negotiating tactics, judging by past actions, is to walk away from the negotiating table abruptly. The intention being to frighten the other side into concessions."

Britain's FTSE was up 0.2 percent to 5,962. In Germany, the DAX edged 0.3 percent lower to 12,872, while the CAC 40 in Paris shed 0.1 percent to 4,891. The future contract for the S&P 500 gained 0.6 percent while the future for the Dow industrials picked up 0.7 percent. 

With Chinese markets closed for a weeklong holiday, trading in Asia has been subdued.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 1.1 percent to end the day at 24,242.86 and the Kospi in South Korea surged 0.9% to 2,386.94. Japan's Nikkei 225 slipped 0.1 percent to 23,422.82.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.3 percent to 6,036.40, as investors were cheered by the government's proposed budget plan, which included tax cuts, subsidies and other stimulus to counter the impact of the pandemic. India's Sensex gained 0.7 percent to 39,846.18. 

On Tuesday, the S&P 500 index slid 1.4 percent after gaining 0.7 percent before the president's announcement, which he made on Twitter about an hour before the close of trading.

In a series of tweets, Trump said "have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major stimulus bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and small business.'' He also accused Speaker Nancy Pelosi of not negotiating in good faith.

Optimism that Democrats and Republicans would reach a deal on more stimulus ahead of the Nov. 3 elections had helped lift the stock market recently. 

Powell, the Fed chair, has repeatedly urged Congress to provide additional aid, saying the Fed can't prop up the economy by itself, even with interest rates at record lows. "The expansion is still far from complete,'' Powell said in a speech to the National Association for Business Economics, group of corporate and academic economists.

Trump's mention of $1,200 stimulus checks is a reference to a batch of direct payments to most Americans that has been a central piece of negotiations between Pelosi and the White House. Pelosi has generally rejected taking a piecemeal approach to COVID relief.

Without more stimulus, analysts say growth likely will slow significantly in the final three months of the year. 

The stimulus cutoff coincides with a slowdown in hiring, as employers added 661,000 jobs in September, the government said Friday. That was down from 1.5 million in August and 1.8 million in July.

Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis and growing outbreaks at the White House and Pentagon have highlighted the risks of further shocks to the economy if escalating caseloads lead governments to bring back restrictions they put on businesses early this year seeking to contain the pandemic.

In other trading, US benchmark crude oil shed $1.09 to $39.58 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It jumped $1.45 to $40.67 on Tuesday. Brent crude, the international standard, gave up 97 cents to $41.6 per barrel.

The dollar bought 106.06 Japanese yen, up from 105.62 late Tuesday. The euro strengthened to $1.1763 from $1.1734. (AP)

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