World Stocks Mostly Higher in Thin Trade

(AP) -- Shares were mostly higher in thin Christmas Eve trading on Thursday, despite President Donald Trump's threat not to sign a major economic stimulus package approved by Congress this week.

Benchmarks rose in Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney and other regional markets. London was little changed and U.S. futures edged higher.

Stocks fell in Shanghai after China's market regulator said it has launched an anti-monopoly investigation of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, stepping up official efforts to tighten control over the country's fast-growing tech industries.

China's State Administration for Market Regulation also recently summoned six companies, including Alibaba and other e-commerce platforms such as and Pinduoduo, gaming company Tencent, food delivery firm Meituan and ridesharing firm Didi Chuxing to discuss other aspects of their operations.

Alibaba Group Holding's share price plunged 8.1% in Hong Kong.

The Shanghai Composite index lost 0.6% to 3,363.11. Shares also fell on the smaller market in southern China's Shenzhen.

But elsewhere, investors were in a buying mood. The CAC 40 in Paris edged 0.1% higher to 5,533.14 and Britain's FTSE 100 was nearly unchanged at 6,495.26. Germany's markets were closed.

The future for the S&P 500 gained 0.2%, as did the future for the Dow industrials.

In other Asian trading, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index gained 0.5% to 26,668.35 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong edged 0.2% higher, to 26,386.56. In South Korea, the Kospi climbed 1.7% to 2,806.86. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.3% to 6,664.80.

"Although some reshuffling of portfolios in emerging Asia was to be expected ahead of the holiday break, the underlying theme is a positive one," Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary.

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 inched up 0.1% to 3,690.01. The benchmark index set a record high on Thursday and is up 14.2% so far this year.

An avalanche of data on the U.S. economy showed a mixed picture.

The Labor Department said fewer U.S. workers filed for unemployment benefits last week. The number is still incredibly high compared with before the pandemic, but it was better than economists were expecting.

Another report said that orders for long-lasting goods strengthened by more than expected last month, a good sign for the nation's manufacturers.

Other reports were grimmer. Consumers pulled back on their spending by more last month than economists expected, mainly because of a drop in income.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.4% to 30,129.83. The Nasdaq composite fell 0.3%, to 12,771.11, while the Russell 2000 index climbed above the 2,000-point mark for the first time. It gained 0.9% to 2,007.10.

Investors appear to have taken in stride President Donald Trump's comment that he may not sign the $900 billion rescue for the economy that Congress approved Monday night.

The hope has been that the package might tide the economy over until widespread vaccinations can help the world begin to return to normal.

The legislation includes one-time cash payments of $600 to most Americans, extra benefits for laid-off workers and other financial support. Trump said he wants to see bigger cash payments going to most Americans, up to $2,000 for individuals. He also criticized other parts of the bill.

"Despite the churning of the Washington D.C. pond by vetos, new votes, and overrides, Wall Street clearly believes something positive will float to the top of the barrel when the churning stops," Halley said.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury was steady at 0.95%.

In other trading, U.S. benchmark crude gained 16 cents to $48.28 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained $1.10 to $48.12 on Wednesday. Brent crude, the international standard, added 18 cents to $51.42 per barrel.

The dollar rose to 103.59 Japanese yen from 103.54 yen late Wednesday. The euro rose to $1.2200 from $1.2192.