Global Stocks Follow Wall St Lower as Stimulus Hopes Fade

BEIJING (AP) -- Global stock markets and U.S. futures declined Thursday as hopes U.S. leaders will agree on new economic aid before the Nov. 3 presidential election faded.

London and Frankfurt opened lower. Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong also declined.

Wall Street's benchmark S&P 500 index dropped 0.7% on Wednesday after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he and congressional leaders were “far apart” on new aid for the struggling U.S. economy. Consumer spending, the main U.S. economic engine, weakened after earlier additional unemployment benefits expired.

Mnuchin “added another nail to the coffin on pre-election stimulus,” said Jingyi Pan of IG in a report.

In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London fell 2% to 5,817.13 and Frankfurt's DAX lost 2.7% to 12,674.63. The CAC 40 in France retreated 1.6% to 4,861.66.

Thursday brings a European Union summit that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had set as a deadline to get aa trade agreement after the United Kingdom left the bloc. As of Wednesday, talks remained in a deep rut over fundamental differences on the issues of state aid and fisheries.

On Wall Street, futures for the S&P 500 index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were off 0.5%. On Wednesday, the Dow lost 0.6% and the Nasdaq composite slid 0.8%.

In Asian trading Thursday, the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.3% to 3,332.18 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo sank 0.7% to 12,827.82. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 2.1% to 24,154.15.

The Kospi in Seoul shed 0.8% to 2,361.21 despite a strong market debut by the company that manages popular South Korean boy band BTS. The group faces criticism by Chinese internet users after its leader thanked Korean War veterans for their sacrifices.

Big Hit Entertainment Ltd.'s share price doubled by mid-day but ended the day close to its opening. It's market value after an initial public offering that raised more than $800 million was about $7.5 billion.

In Sydney, the S&P-ASX 200 gained 0.5% to 6,210.30 while India's Sensex lost 1.2% to 40,293.61. New Zealand and Southeast Asian markets declined.

Thailand's benchmark lost 1.5% after the government declared a “severe state of emergency" following a rally Wednesday by protesters demanding democratic change.

Early Thursday, Thai police dispersed pro-democracy protesters who camped out overnight outside the prime minister's office to demand his resignation. Police said 20 people were arrested.

In Washington, Mnuchin and Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House of Representatives, talked by phone Wednesday but reached no agreement, according to Pelosi aide Drew Hammill. Mnuchin said it would be difficult to complete a deal before the election.

Major U.S. companies have begun reporting quarterly earnings this week.

Investors are swinging between optimism about a possible coronavirus vaccine that helped to propel an earlier market rally and unease about lackluster U.S. economic activity.

The Federal Reserve has indicated it will keep interest rates at nearly zero for a while to support the economy, even if inflation hits its target level.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude lost 32 cents to $40.72 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, declined 31 cents to $43.01 per barrel in London.

The dollar gained to 105.20 yen from Wednesday's 105.15 yen. The euro declined to $1.1726 from $1.1753.