AP and AFP
BEIJING, HONG KONG–Major Asian stock markets fell Tuesday while Europe gained after Wall Street closed at record highs ahead of the Christmas trading break.
In morning trading, France’s CAC-40 added 0.5 percent to 4,275.58 and Germany’s DAX rose 0.2 percent to 9,886.83. On Monday, the DAX gained 0.7 percent and the CAC-40 0.3 percent.
The Dow and S&P 500 stock indices rose to fresh records on Monday, another positive day for global equity markets still cheered by last week’s U.S. Federal Reserve meeting. The broad-based S&P 500 advanced 7.89 points (0.38 percent) to 2,078.54, about three points above the previous high Dec. 5. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 154.64 (0.87 percent) to 17,959.44, a little less than a point above the prior record.
The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 16.04 (0.34 percent) to 4,781.42.
U.S. stocks have been on a tear since the Fed last Wednesday kept interest rates low and left in place market expectations that it may raise interest rates only in the middle of 2015 and not sooner. Biotech company Gilead Sciences slumped 14.3 percent after prescription management company Express Scripts announced that AbbVie’s Viekira Pak treatment for hepatitis C would be an exclusive treatment in many cases. The decision will cut into sales of Gilead’s Sovaldi drug. Dow member Boeing rose 1.6 percent after announcing an order with Air China for new aircraft in a deal worth more than US$6 billion. Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury dropped to 2.16 percent from 2.18 percent Friday, while the 30-year dipped to 2.75 percent from 2.77 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely. China led a slump in Asian markets, with Shanghai registering one of its biggest percentage falls of the year and banks among the biggest losers there. Dealers said a recent run-up following a surprise Chinese interest rate cut had created room for a market correction.
Shanghai dropped 3.03 percent, or 94.84 points, to finish at 3,032.61. The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China’s second exchange, fell 1.39 percent, or 19.68 points, to 1,392.62.