Wall Street sags after record-breaking session

Roland JACKSON
All-time peaks on Wall Street failed to spur on stock markets in Europe

Wall Street pulled back from records on Wednesday as investors digested mixed earnings reports ahead of more results from major tech companies.

Elsewhere, Asian and European bourses were mixed as a global stocks rally failed to materialize a day after Tuesday's record-breaking session in New York.

Meanwhile, a drop in German business sentiment sent the euro plunging.

US aviation giant Boeing told investors the crisis involving its top-selling 737 MAX aircraft -- grounded worldwide last month in the wake of two deadly crashes -- had so far cost the company $1 billion. But its share price still rose 0.4 percent, likely due to relief that the damage was not worse.

Earnings reports out Wednesday were somewhat weaker and came ahead of much-anticipated results from tech giants such as Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft.

"There might have been some hesitancy to take a position ahead" of tech earnings, said Karl Haeling of LBBW. "It seems like a little pause."

- China stimulus hopes fade -

In Europe, London stocks dropped by 0.7 percent amid ongoing Brexit uncertainty, while Paris also sank.

However Frankfurt rose 0.6 percent, aided by soaring first-quarter revenues and profits for German software and cloud computing giant SAP.

"Although investors might have hoped that record highs in the US would prompt gains in the rest of the world, the current lack of correlation across global markets means that there is less read-across than usual," Interactive Investor analyst Rebecca O'Keeffe told AFP.

"Suggestions that leaders within China's ruling party will focus on economic reforms and will hold back on unnecessary stimulus is dampening market sentiment in Asia."

In Germany, a closely-watched business confidence survey fell, causing the euro to sink.

Oil markets were mixed, with benchmark WTI crude ticking downwards following a surprise jump in US inventories.

Oil had earlier hit six-month highs on the back of news that Washington would end a waiver for several countries from US sanctions on Iran.

Prices had already been rising on hopes for China-US trade talks and for an output cap by OPEC and Russia.

There has been speculation OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia could step in to fill the void left in the market by the removal of Iranian crude, which would temper prices.

But Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih said Wednesday that the kingdom has no immediate plans to raise oil output.

- Key figures around 2200 GMT -

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.2 percent at 26,597.05 (close)

New York - S&P 500: DOWN 0.2 percent at 2,927.25 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: DOWN 0.2 percent at 8,102.01 (close)

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.7 percent at 7,471.75 points (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.6 percent at 12,313.16 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.3 percent at 5,576.06 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: FLAT at 3,502.63 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.3 at 22,200.00 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 0.5 percent at 29,805.83 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.1 percent at 3,201.61 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1156 from $1.1227 at 2100 GMT on Tuesday

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2902 from $1.2938

Euro/pound: DOWN at 86.46 pence from 86.78 pence

Dollar/yen: UP at 112.13 yen from 111.86 yen

Oil - Brent Crude: UP 6 cents at $74.57 per barrel

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 41 cents at $65.89

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