Global market report - February 1

World markets were mixed ahead of crucial US jobs numbers, but China shares gained and the UK's FTSE 100 pushed through 7,000 points

James Gard 1 February, 2019 | 7:00PM

North America

Tech earnings season has largely lifted the stocks of Apple (AAPL) and Facebook (FB), but Amazon (AMZN) proved the exception. Its shares slid in after-hours and pre-market trading as it warned of slower growth in the first quarter of this year despite a 203% rise in operating profit for the year as a whole and a 31% rise in revenue. This is a classic case of investors looking past strong historical data and fretting about the outlook.

US stocks had a strong January but there is a sense of flagging momentum entering into February, as investors seek concrete news from US-China trade talks. The S&P 500 had its best January in 30 years, and the Fed’s caution and broadly supportive earnings season. US stock futures suggest a mixed open for the Dow, S&P, and NASDAQ today.

Non-farm payrolls are one of the highlights of the global economic calendar today. The US economy is expected to have added 165,000 jobs in January, down from the 312,000 jobs created in December.


The FTSE 100 nudged above 7,000 points this morning, a level its has been attempting to breach all week, but the daily gain is still under 0.5%. The UK index has been supported by the rebound in global equity prices in January, but has failed to break above 7,000 because of the stronger pound.

Yesterday’s news that Italy had entered recession in the last quarter dented domestic shares on Thursday, with the FTSE MIB sliding back from nearly 20,000 to around 19,500 points. But the index made an attempt at a recovery today.


China’s Shanghai Composite Index pushed above 2,600 points on the last trading day before Chinese New Year, which keeps the domestic stock market closed for five days next week. The bounce was despite a mixed closed on Wall Street and a weaker-than-expected outturn for the Caixin manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI).

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped slightly on Thursday’s close but it has a been a positive week and month for the tech-biased index.

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James Gard

James Gard  James Gard is subeditor for