NEW YORK: US stocks have ticked lower following two sessions of strong gains with strong corporate earnings offset by uncertainty over the feasibility of a proposed business tax cut.
The proposal from the Trump administration slashes tax rates for businesses and on overseas corporate profits returned to the country. It offered no specifics on how it would be paid for without increasing the deficit.
The expectation of a corporate tax cut was partly behind the rally in US stocks since the November election of Donald Trump as president. The market has stalled over the last several weeks as the administration has failed to score a major legislative victory, Republican majorities in the House and Senate notwithstanding.
The S&P 500 traded above its record closing high throughout the day, however. Some analysts say even though tax reform would be a major boost to stocks, economic and earnings growth are enough to support current market levels.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.10 per cent to 20,975.09, the S&P 500 lost 0.05 per cent, to 2,387.45 and the Nasdaq Composite closed flat at 6,025.23.
LONDON: French blue chips hit a fresh 9-year high on Wednesday, helped by a surge in the shares of luxury group Kering after it reported strong sales, while European regional indexes hovered near a 20-month peak.
The pan-European STOXX 600 benchmark ended the session up 0.5 per cent as luxury stocks and financials underpinned gains, supported by a wave of earnings results that largely outperformed market expectations.
France's CAC 40 rose 0.2 per cent, building on gains made earlier this week after the investor-friendly centrist Emmanuel Macron progressed to the second round of the French presidential election on May 7. He is tipped to win.
Germany's DAX up 0.05 per cent at 12,472.80.
British shares rose as gains for Standard Chartered and other companies reporting well-received results helped offset a pullback in healthcare stocks.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index closed up 0.18 per cent at 7,288.72, broadly in line with other European bourses, and rising for the third straight session.
TOKYO: Asian stocks extended gains for a fifth consecutive day, as renewed optimism about the world's biggest economy brightened the outlook for risky assets.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.5 per cent, hovering near their highest since June 2015.
Stock markets in Japan and Australia led gainers, with the Nikkei 225 up 1.10 per cent and Australia's two major indexes both closed more than 0.6 per cent higher.
Hong Kong shares rose to their highest level in more than a month, in line with gains in most other Asian markets, supported by improved risk appetite and an overnight rally on Wall Street.
A further rebound in mainland China stocks also buoyed investors' confidence.
The Hang Seng index rose 0.5 per cent to 24,578.43 points, the highest level since March 21, while the China Enterprises Index gained 0.4 per cent to 10,317.63.
The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.1 per cent to 3,445.18 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.2 per cent to 3,140.85 points.
WELLINGTON: The S&P/NZX 50 Index gained 112.2 points, or 1.6 per cent, to 7335.14.