Europe stocks rise but Wall Street falls as tech falters
European and Asian stock markets rose Friday but Wall Street fell after tech giants Amazon and Apple posted disappointing quarterly results.
Investors tracked a slew of economic and corporate news, with Chinese officials hinting they could ease their crackdown on the country's tech sector and data showing the eurozone economy slowed in the first quarter.
Traders are also operating under the shadows of the Ukraine war, China's Covid lockdown, soaring inflation and a looming interest rate hike in the United States next week.
European stock markets rose in afternoon trading as investors shrugged off data showing that the eurozone's economy had slowed to 0.2 percent in the first quarter while inflation stayed at record levels.
There was some much-needed good news for China's embattled tech sector.
The official Xinhua news agency reported that a meeting of the government's decision-making body ended with officials saying it was "necessary to promote the healthy development of the platform economy" and "complete its rectification".
The report suggests an easing of the sweeping clampdown on the country's biggest firms.
In the Politburo meeting, chaired by Xi Jinping, officials also said there was a need to "respond to market concerns in a timely manner".
Hong Kong stock markets closed up four percent Friday and Shanghai put on more than two percent.
But investors worried about the US tech sector after Amazon posted on Thursday its first quarterly loss since 2015 and warned of continuing challenges in the months ahead.
Wall Street opened lower, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq index down one percent in early deals and Amazon shares tumbling by more than 11 percent.
Apple shares were flat after the company reported solid profits but warned that it could take a hit of as much as $8 billion due to China's Covid lockdown and ongoing supply chain bottlenecks.
"Amazon was the latest to catch Wall Street off guard, reporting its first loss since 2015 amid a multitude of challenges facing the company," said Craig Erlam, analyst at forex platform OANDA.
"Like many others, the company is struggling to adjust to post-pandemic life having scaled up massively over the last couple of years," Erlam said.
- Oil up, dollar drops -
Elsewhere, oil prices jumped Friday as tight Russian supply fears help to offset weaker demand concerns fuelled by China's lockdowns.
ExxonMobil reported that first-quarter profits more than doubled to $5.5 billion as high oil prices more than made up for costs connected to exiting its Sakhalin project in Russia.
The US energy giant last month announced a phased withdrawal from the giant Sakhalin offshore oil field that it has operated since 1995 following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The shift resulted in a $3.4 billion hit in one-time costs during quarter.
In foreign exchange, the dollar dropped on profit-taking after surging to multi-years highs against the yen and euro this week with the US Federal Reserve set to aggressively hike interest rates to combat soaring inflation.
- Key figures at around 1345 GMT -
New York - Dow: DOWN 0.5 percent at 33,757.26 points
London - FTSE 100: UP 0.4 percent at 7,535.98
Frankfurt - DAX: UP 0.9 percent at 14,103.65
Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.7 percent at 6,554.96
EURO STOXX 50: UP 1.1 percent at 3,733.64
Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: UP 4.0 percent at 21,089.39 (close)
Shanghai - Composite: UP 2.4 percent at 3,047.06 (close)
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: Closed for a holiday
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0526 from $1.0509 late Thursday
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2549 from $1.2468
Euro/pound: DOWN at 83.91 pence from 84.25 pence
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 130.13 yen from 130.79 yen
Brent North Sea crude: UP 1.6 percent at $108.94 per barrel
West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.2 percent at $106.63 per barrel
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