Friday, 1 February 2019

US stocks rise but European and Asian stocks weighed down by economic data

Markets were mostly up on Thursday.

The S&P 500 rose 0.9 percent and the Nikkei 225 jumped 1.1 percent but the STOXX Europe 600 was little-changed.

Investors were encouraged by the Federal Reserve's remark at the conclusion of its two-day monetary policy meeting on Wednesday that it would be “patient” with interest rate hikes. The S&P 500 had surged 1.6 percent on Wednesday.

Economic news, however, weighed on markets in Europe and Asia.

The European Statistics Office reported that the euro area grew 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter and 1.2 percent from the fourth quarter of the previous year. This means that the region stuck to its lowest pace of growth in four years in the final quarter of 2018.

In China, the National Bureau of Statistics reported that its manufacturing purchasing managers' index for January was 49.5, suggesting a contraction in the sector for the second consecutive month.

Still, some analysts are optimistic.

“I think it's going to continue to be a fairly good year, and I think we probably go up and get close to the highs or 3,000 on the S&P,” said James Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Leuthhold Group.

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