Wall Street struggles but FTSE 100 finishes higher

 Wall Street opens lower  but FTSE 100 holds steady A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., February 17, 2023.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
The FTSE 100 index held firm but stayed off session highs as US stocks wavered. Photo: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

The FTSE 100 and European stocks finished mixed this Wednesday even after key measures of Chinese manufacturing showed a strong recovery as zero-Covid restrictions were lifted late last year.

The FTSE 100 (^FTSE) jumped 0.47% to 7,913 points during afternoon trading, while the CAC 40 (^FCHI) in Paris lost 0.47% to 7,289 points. In Germany, the DAX (^GDAXI) slipped 0.46% to 15,295.

Across the pond, US stocks wavered as key manufacturing data came in better-than-expected.

The Dow Jones (^DJI) slipped 0.23% while the S&P 500 (^GSPC) lost 0.53% to 3,949 points and the tech-heavy NASDAQ (^IXIC) fell 0.69% to 11,376.

Treasury yields also rose on bets of more rate hikes by the Federal Reserve that offset optimism from strong China manufacturing data.

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China's official manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) stood at 52.6 last month against 50.1 in January – above the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction. That marks the highest reading since April 2012, when it hit 53.5.

Market analyst Craig Erlam at OANDA said the latest Chinese PMI has "provided some cause for more optimism".

"It was already believed that the transition from zero-COVID to living with it was going smoothly but this survey data suggests businesses are now extremely optimistic about the future.

"That bodes well not just for China but regionally as well, as strong demand boost trade and a resurgence in tourism restores the battered industry. There's still a long way to go and there could be setbacks along the way but investors will no doubt be encouraged by these early signs."

In London, gains were being led by miners and retailers, with Anglo American (AAL.L) and Antofagasta (ANTO.L) up 3.95% and 4.38% respectively.

Housebuilder Persimmon (PSN.L) plunged 11.39% after it said it expects to build and sell a lot fewer homes this year than it has in the past as the company's boss warned of an "uncertain" market.

Dettol and Lysol maker Reckitt Benckiser (RKT.L) was up 2.01% after it delivered a huge surge in sales after capitalising on a product recall from one of its largest rivals.

Burberry (BRBY.L) was up 1.26% given its close economic links with China.

Markets were also uplift as governor Andrew Bailey said the Bank of England has to monitor carefully how tightening works its way through to the economy.

Naeem Aslam, chief investment officer at Zaye Capital Markets, said: "Market players are a lot more optimistic as the governor of the Bank of England believes that the bank may take a break from hiking rates as things have started to flow in the direction that they desired.

"The fact that is this is good news from the Bank official who has been sending hawkish comments to the market which made many concerned."

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Meanwhile, Brent crude (BZ=F) was down at around $84/barrel following an earlier rally.

Asian stocks jumped as strong China data revived reopening optimism. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 (^N225) rose 0.26% to 27,516 points, while the Hang Seng (^HSI) in Hong Kong surged 4.21% to 20,619. The Shanghai Composite (000001.SS) also edged higher, rising 1% to 3,312 points.

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