Global stocks mixed as elections heat up

US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden arrive at a campaign event in North Carolina a day after the president's debate performance drew criticism (Mandel NGAN)
US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden arrive at a campaign event in North Carolina a day after the president's debate performance drew criticism (Mandel NGAN)

Equity markets were mixed Friday as investors assessed fallout from a bumpy US presidential debate and looked ahead to weekend elections in France that could boost the far right.

US stocks had initially risen following an improving reading of the personal consumption expenditures price index, a closely-watched benchmark that boosted the odds of a Federal Reserve interest rate cut.

But yields on US Treasury notes rose as the day progressed, pressuring the market in the final session of the first half of the year.

All three major indices finished down in New York, with the tech-rich Nasdaq suffering the biggest drop at 0.7 percent.

Nonetheless, all three major indices are up handsomely in 2024 so far, with the S&P 500 up more than 14 percent.

US President Joe Biden's performance in a debate with predecessor Donald Trump was widely criticized by observers, who said it raised concerns the president is too old to run again.

"There is a lot of speculation about what may or may not happen, but it's fair to say that some added uncertainty has been injected into the presidential race," said a mid-session note from

"That uncertainty could be playing a part in the market's inability to hold on to stronger gains along with quarter-end activity."

But some analysts expect a limited impact in the near future.

"We don't think Biden's disastrous performance at last night's debate will have a material impact on markets in the short term," said Kathleen Brooks, research director at XTB.

"The election is still many months away and a lot could change."

In Europe, the Paris stock market dropped 0.7 percent on the last day of trading before France's first-round legislative polls on Sunday.

President Emmanuel Macron's centrist alliance was facing potential defeat to a surging far right, whose spending plans could put Paris on course for a standoff with the European Union.

The Paris stock exchange's CAC 40 index has slumped by 6.5 percent since Macron dissolved the lower house of parliament on June 9 following a disastrous showing for his centrist party in European elections.

The gap between the yield on French and benchmark German 10-year government bonds widened to its highest level since 2012, another sign investors are worried about the spending plans of the far-right and the left-wing coalition. Both are polling better than Macron's party.

On Thursday Britain holds its general election, which is expected to see the ruling Conservatives of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak ousted after 14 years in government by the main opposition Labour Party.

Among individual companies, Nike plunged nearly 20 percent as it lowered its fiscal 2025 outlook citing a number of headwinds, including weaker online sales and a mixed outlook on China.

- Key figures around 2030 GMT -

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.1 percent at 39,118.86 (close)

New York - S&P 500: DOWN 0.4 percent at 5,460.48 (close)

New York - Nasdaq Composite: DOWN 0.7 percent at 17,732.60 (close)

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.2 percent at 8,164.012 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.7 percent at 7,479.40 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX: UP 0.1 percent at 18,235.45 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.2 percent at 4,894.02 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.6 percent at 39,583.08 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: FLAT at 17,718.61 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.7 percent at 2,967.40 (close)

Dollar/yen: UP at 160.92 yen from 160.76 yen on Thursday

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0715 from $1.0704

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2644 from $1.2639

Euro/pound: UP at 84.71 pence from 84.68 pence

Brent North Sea Crude: UP less than 0.1 percent at $86.41 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.2 percent at $81.54 per barrel