Stocks hesitate but Toshiba news boosts London

New York (AFP) –


Stock markets were mixed Wednesday as some bourses paused their recent gains, but London and Tokyo rose on takeover news regarding Japanese industrial giant Toshiba.

Toshiba confirmed receipt of a takeover offer from CVC Capital Partners, jolting shares of the Japanese tech company higher and lifting some other companies on speculation over more deals.

Major Wall Street indices hovered near the flat-line for most of the session, but the S&P 500 eked out a fresh record.

US President Joe Biden amplified a call for massive infrastructure investment, while Federal Reserve meeting minutes showed most policy makers viewed inflation as stable, even as "several" central bankers worried that strong demand "could push up price inflation more than anticipated."

The minutes of last month's Fed policy meeting were "so much in line with expectation that it didn't really affect the market too much," said Tom Cahill of Ventura Wealth management, adding that investors are looking ahead to earnings season later this month.

"The market is waiting for earnings announcements to see if corporations can lift expectations or raise guidance," Cahill said.

London's FTSE 100 climbed 0.9 percent, extending Tuesday's increase, after Toshiba's statement.

The potential Toshiba takeover by CVC, a British private equity fund, is "likely to prompt speculation about which companies could be next to fall prey to the wave of cash private equity firms have built up in recent years," said AJ Bell financial analyst Danni Hewson.

Tokyo ended only moderately higher, but Toshiba stock soared 18 percent after it confirmed it had received the CVC buyout offer.

The Nikkei newspaper said CVC Capital Partners was considering a 30 percent premium over the industrial group's share price on Tuesday.

Toshiba said it would "request detailed information and carefully discuss" the offer.

The proposal would take Toshiba private, with delisting intended to produce faster decision-making by Toshiba's management, which has clashed with shareholders recently, reports said.

Elsewhere, JPMorgan Chase gained 1.6 percent after Chief Executive Jamie Dimon predicted the US economy would see a "likely boom," potentially through 2023, following a flood of fiscal support.

However, Dimon pointed to two risks that could derail this scenario -- virulent Covid-19 variants that resist vaccines and a more long-running rise in inflation that compels the Fed to hike interest rates quickly.

- Key figures around 2110 GMT -

New York - Dow: UP 0.1 percent at 33,446.26 (close)

New York - S&P 500: UP 0.2 percent at 4,079.95 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: DOWN 0.1 percent at 13,688.84 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.9 percent at 6,885.32 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: FLAT at 6,130.66 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.2 percent at 15,176.36 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.3 percent at 3,956.77 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.1 percent at 29,730.79 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 0.9 percent at 28,674.80 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.1 percent at 3,479.63 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1865 from $1.1876 at 2100 GMT

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3735 from $1.3824

Euro/pound: UP at 86.35 pence from 85.90 pence

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 109.84 yen from 109.75 yen

Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.7 percent at $63.16 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.7 percent at $59.77 per barrel