Global stocks struggled for direction during Wednesday's trading session, seesawing between small gains and losses. Trading is likely to be thin across the globe during the last week of the year, with volumes of crude oil, equities and currencies all below average.
Asian shares were mixed on Wednesday, with shares in South Korea down as its political scandal grows more entangled and Toshiba plunged 20% on a possible write-down of several billion dollars related to its Westinghouse unit.
In Europe, markets fluctuated around the flat line, eventually closing the session mixed in a light post-holiday session. Miners pushed higher, but Italian banks led declines on ongoing concerns about the future of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena.
Meanwhile, US stocks turned negative on Wednesday, as investors found few reasons to keep pushing shares higher, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average failing anew in its quest for the 20,000 milestone, following a multi-week rally that has taken major indexes to repeated records.
Shares in electronics giant Toshiba were having a nightmare on Wednesday. Shares plunged 20.43% to 311.6 yen each, hitting the Tokyo Exchange's daily downward limit, having fallen a further 11.6% on Tuesday.
The company said on Tuesday that it may have to book several billion dollars in one-off charges related to a U.S. nuclear power plant construction company acquisition, causing investors to flee.
Italian banks lead financial lower
Banks in Italy were also having a rough day on Wednesday. Investors kept their focus on Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena after the European Central Bank told the troubled Italian lender that it needs to plug an €8.8 billion capital shortfall. Shares on BMPS shed 7% during the session. Elsewhere, shares of Banca Popolare di Milano lost 2.65% and Unione di Banche Italiane gave up 3.32%.
Other big banks in London were mixed. HSBC Holdings and Aviva posted gains of 0.68% and 0.63% respectively while the likes of Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays and Lloyds were all in the red.
On Wall Street, shares of Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley were trading in positive territory, but JPMorgan Chase and Deutsche Bank were in the red.
Oil continues to climb
Oil prices traded in the green for a fourth straight session on Wednesday, reflecting trader expectations that the Organization of the petroleum Exporting Countries and other major producing nations will abide by their promises to cut outing in the new year.
On the New York Merchantile Exchange, crude oil rose 0.5% to trade above $54 a barrel, on track for its highest close since June 2015.
This article was issued by Rebecca Naudi, Trader at Calamatta Cuschieri. For more information visit, www.cc.com.mt .The information, views and opinions provided in this article are being provided solely for educational and informational purposes and should not be construed as investment advice, advice concerning particular investments or investment decisions, or tax or legal advice. Calamatta Cuschieri Investment Services Ltd has not verified and consequently neither warrants the accuracy nor the veracity of any information, views or opinions appearing on this website.