Stock markets slip despite easing recession risks

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Feb 21 2023 08:51 PM

LONDON - Major stock markets in Europe and Asia mostly fell Tuesday, with investors brushing off positive data ahead of Wall Street's reopening after a long holiday weekend.

Private-sector growth has accelerated across Europe this month, according to key surveys from S&P.

The agency's purchasing managers' index (PMI) data was published alongside a separate survey showing that German investor confidence rose again in February.

Taken together, the reports increased the chances that major European economies would avoid recession this year, analysts said, despite expectations that the US Federal Reserve and other central banks will continue to raise interest rates to further cool inflation.

"At a time of such uncertainty over inflation, interest rates, and the economy, these forward-looking business surveys carry extra weight," said Craig Erlam, senior markets analyst at the brokerage firm OANDA 

The eurozone PMI showed the indicator at 52.3 this month, up from 50.8 in January -- a reading over 50 represents economic growth.

Output in the single currency bloc turned around in January after a slump tied to supply chain disruptions, the Covid pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

Recovery was evident also in Britain, where the purchasing managers' index hit 53 in February, up from 48.5 the previous month.

The data on Tuesday boosted the pound, which was also benefitting from the prospect of more hikes to UK interest rates.

The "UK has a greater chance of avoiding a recession according to the latest health check of the economy", said Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

Elsewhere, oil prices traded mixed Tuesday as worries about higher interest rates and possible recession played off against hopes that China's economic reopening from strict Covid lockdowns would fuel a surge in demand.

- Key figures around 1215 GMT -
London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.2 percent at 8,000.65 points

Frankfurt - DAX: DOWN 0.4 percent at 15,416.76

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.3 percent at 7,311.03

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.5 percent at 4,249.28

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.2 percent at 27,473.10 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 1.7 percent at 20,529.49 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.5 percent at 3,306.52 (close)

New York - Dow: Closed for public holiday

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.0654 from $1.0686 on Monday

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2100 from $1.2035

Euro/pound: DOWN at 88.03 pence from 88.80 pence

Dollar/yen: UP at 134.65 yen from 134.07 yen

West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.3 percent at $77.36 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.3 percent at $83.80 per barrel