Global shares were mixed on Thursday, with the Nikkei erasing earlier gains. Chinese indexes got a boost from news that the economy expanded at a robust 6.9 percent annual pace in 2017.
KEEPING SCORE: France’s CAC 40 added 0.1 percent in early trading to 5,501.09 and Germany’s DAX rose nearly 0.3 percent to 13,219.70. Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 0.1 percent to 7,715.20. U.S. shares were set to drift lower with Dow futures down nearly 0.1 percent at 26,084. S&P 500 futures were also down nearly 0.1 percent at 2,802.30.
ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 0.4 percent to finish at 23,763.37. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was little changed at 6,014.60 after zigzagging during the day, and South Korea’s Kospi inched up less than 0.1 percent to 2,515.81. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.4 percent to 32,121.94 while the Shanghai Composite jumped 0.9 percent to 3,474.75. India’s Sensex climbed 0.9 percent to 35,393.88. Shares in Taiwan and Southeast Asia were mostly higher.
CHINA FACTOR: China’s economy expanded at a 6.9 percent pace in 2017, faster than expected and the first annual increase in seven years, according to government data. The numbers beat forecasts, including China’s growth target of 6.5 percent. Growth in the fourth quarter held steady at 6.8 percent, though it was a tick slower than the 6.9 percent pace of growth in the first half of the year. Buoyant consumer spending helped drive the faster expansion, the report said.
THE QUOTE: “Economic growth in China probably slowed last quarter, even though the official figures paint a picture of continued stability,” Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics said in a commentary. “We have doubts about the accuracy of the official figures given how implausibly stable they have been in recent years.”
ENERGY: Benchmark crude fell 8 cents to $63.89 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It added 24 cents to $63.97 per barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 18 cents to $69.20 a barrel.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 111.24 yen from 110.77 yen late Wednesday in Asia. The euro slipped to $1.2204 from $1.2207.