Global stock markets rebounded slightly yesterday as dealers brushed aside downbeat US growth data and took stock of a fresh Spanish austerity budget amid fears Madrid needs a full bailout.
Stocks climbed modestly on Wall Street, perhaps headed for their first gain of the week, after unemployment claims in the US fell to their lowest level in two months.
Around 1600 GMT, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 64 points at 13,478. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 11 to 1,444. And the Nasdaq composite index was up 32 to 3,126.
Energy stocks and banks gained the most in early trading. Utility stocks, which tend to do well when investors are fearful, were the only industry group in the S&P to fall.
London’s FTSE 100 index of top companies earlier rose 0.20 percent to 5,779.42 points at close after official data showed Britain’s recession-hit economy shrank less than initially thought in the second quarter.
Frankfurt’s Dax 30 climbed 0.19 percent to 7,290.02 points, while in Paris the CAC 40 added 0.72 percent to 3,439.32 points.
Moments after the Spanish government revealed its make-or-break 2013 budget, Madrid’s IBEX 35 index closed down 0.15 percent a day after it plunged almost four percent in value.
Wall Street also moved higher Thursday even though official data indicated the US economy was more sluggish than initially thought in the second quarter.
In midday trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.14 percent, the S&P 500 rose 0.39 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.61 percent.
In foreign exchange trade, the euro stood at $1.2893, up from $1.2870 late in New York on Wednesday. Gold prices climbed to $ 1,763 an ounce on the London Bullion Market from $1,744.75 on Wednesday.
“The market regained its breath, but remained focused on Spain. Proof is that the sharp slowdown in US growth had no effect on the session trend,” said Alexandre Baradez, analyst at Saxo Bank.
Spain announced its new budget moments before the closing bell and a day after European equities tumbled on heightened concerns over a full bailout of debt-plagued Spain, traders said.
They recovered a little in initial deals yesterday after Asian stock markets closed higher but dealers there said gains were capped as fears over Spanish and Greek debt returned to the fore.
With violent anti-austerity protests breaking out on the streets of Madrid and Athens, concerns continued to mount that the market euphoria from this month’s US and European central bank stimulus announcements had evaporated.
Spain’s government announced its 2013 austerity budget, with 39 billion euros ($ 50 billion) in savings, including an third straight year of salary freezes for civil servants although pensions were set to increase.
On the secondary market, the rate of return for investors on 10-year Spanish government bonds eased to 5.945 percent from 6.064 percent on Wednesday.
The budget, to be followed by the release of an audit of Spain’s sickly banking system on Friday, was seen by markets as one of the final acts before a sovereign bailout.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s right-leaning Popular Party government has already accepted a eurozone rescue loan for the banks of up to 100 billion euros.
In the United States, the Commerce Department’s third estimate of gross domestic product growth of 1.3 percent was well below expectations that it would be unchanged from the prior estimate of 1.7 percent.
The second-quarter GDP number marked the slowest growth since the first quarter of 2011, and followed a 2.0 percent annual pace in the first quarter.
But Europe’s markets had a lift from solid gains in Shanghai, where there were hopes the Chinese government would soon announce fresh easing to boost the economy after a string of weak data.
Chinese markets are closed next week for the National Day holiday, which could provide a chance for leaders to introduce measures such as an interest rate cut or a reduction in bank reserve requirements, dealers said.