Oil prices have picked up again on supply worries owing to Middle East tensions
Oil prices have picked up again on supply worries owing to Middle East tensions AFP News

Global stocks fell Thursday as markets shrugged off strong US economic data, digesting mixed corporate earnings and monitoring ongoing turmoil in the Middle East.

US gross domestic product growth came in at an annual rate of 4.9 percent for the July to September period, the quickest pace since late-2021.

But markets looked past the blowout report, viewing it as a sign the US economy is bound to slow down.

The sense is "that's it's as good as it's going to get," said Briefing.com analyst Patrick O'Hare.

Investors are more focused on the fourth quarter and the expectation that "everything will slow down," said Hugh Johnson of Huge Johnson Economics.

"That's what really matters. It's not where we've been, it is where we are going.

All three major US indices dropped, with the S&P 500 losing 1.2 percent.

The European Central Bank on Thursday joined the Fed in pausing its rate hikes, having raised them at the last 10 meetings. Record high interest rates appear to have dampened economic activity in the eurozone.

The euro only got a short-lived bump from the widely expected decision, but eurozone stocks cut their losses.

ECB president Christine Lagarde warned Thursday that it would be "absolutely premature" to discuss when interest rates would be cut.

Asian stocks fell sharply, tracking a retreat on Wall Street on Wednesday. It was fueled by earnings gloom, a surge in US Treasuries and worries over a possible escalation of the Middle East crisis.

"Earnings are not providing the lift that investors were hoping for and stocks are suffering as a result," OANDA analyst Craig Erlam told AFP.

European Union leaders called for "humanitarian corridors and pauses" to get aid into Gaza as the United Nations warned "nowhere" in the territory is safe from Israel's retaliation for bloody Hamas attacks.

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.8 percent at 32,784.30 (close)

New York - S&P 500: DOWN 1.2 percent at 4,137.23 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: DOWN 1.8 percent at 12,595.61 (close)

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.8 percent at 7,354.57 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX: DOWN 1.1 percent at 14,731.05 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.4 percent at 6,888.96 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.6 percent at 4,049.40 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 2.1 percent at 30,601.78 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 0.2 percent at 17,044.61 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.5 percent at 2,988.30 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.0564 from $1.0566 on Wednesday

Dollar/yen: UP at 150.35 yen from 150.23 yen

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2128 from $1.2112

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 2.4 percent at $87.93 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 2.6 percent at $83.21 per barrel