Uneasy Wall Street ends mixed; London closes up

New York (AFP) –


Wall Street had a split finish on Tuesday, with the benchmark Dow extending losses amid further signs of unease among investors over trade tensions and inflation.

Meanwhile, London and Tokyo rose in quiet trading as most world indices were closed due to public holidays around the globe.

A mix of worries held Wall Street down as the US Federal Reserve began a two-day policy meeting which will be watched for signals of how aggressively the central bank plans to raise interest rates this year.

"Earnings have not been driving up stocks ever since earnings season started," said Karl Haeling of LBBW, adding that investors believed corporate profits may already be at their peak for the year.

This left stock prices vulnerable to various concerns, Haeling said, citing softer economic data, Wednesday's interest rate decision from the Fed and the churning uncertainty of US trade relations.

The Dow fell 0.3 percent after pairing earlier losses while the broader S&P 500 squeaked by with a positive finish and the tech-heavy Nasdaq jumped higher in anticipation of earnings from Apple.

A US trade delegation this week is due to enter thorny talks with Beijing, which follows quickly after President Donald Trump's last-minute decision on Monday to extend exemptions for the European Union, Canada and Mexico from the steel and aluminum tariffs he announced in March.

The ISM manufacturing index showed growth slowed more than expected in April, while prices hit a seven-year high.

- Weak pound lifts the FTSE -

Construction spending also disappointed last month, falling on a sharp decline in home building.

In London, investors reacted to data showing that Britain's manufacturing sector dropped to a 17-month low in April.

The Markit/CIPS UK manufacturing purchasing managers' index showed a reading of 53.9, down from 54.9 in March.

The data weighed on sterling, as prospects for a May interest rate hike by the Bank of England receded further, analysts said.

The pound's weakness boosted London's benchmark FTSE 100 index which ended up 0.2 percent because it includes heavyweight companies earning in dollars.

"The pound's losses accelerated after the US open, the bottom completely falling out of the currency as it not only dealt with the latest dovish data from the UK but the dollar's own growing confidence," said Connor Campbell, analyst at traders Spreadex.

Tokyo's Nikkei closed higher in quiet trading during Japan's Golden Week holiday period, as investors took to the sidelines ahead of key earnings and economic data in the United States.

Japanese telecoms giant SoftBank closed up 0.65 percent after its US subsidiary Sprint on Monday said it would form a new company with T-Mobile, a division of Germany's Deutsche Telecom.

BP ended with a gain of 1.8 percent at 547.70 pence in London afternoon deals after the British energy major said first-quarter net profits soared 70 percent on rising crude oil prices and increasing output.

- Key figures around 2100 GMT -

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.3 percent at 24,099.05 points (close)

New York - S&P 500: UP 0.3 percent at 2,654.80 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: UP 0.9 percent at 7,130.70 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.2 percent at 7,520.36 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.2 percent at 22,508 (close)

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3617 from $1.3763 at 2100 GMT on Monday

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.9994 from $1.2078

Dollar/yen: UP at 109.87 yen from 109.05

Oil - Brent North Sea: DOWN $1.56 at $73.13 per barrel

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: DOWN $1.32 at $67.25