Alibaba surged in Hong Kong and New York on reports of a huge stake purchase by co-founders Jack Ma and Joseph Tsai
Alibaba surged in Hong Kong and New York on reports of a huge stake purchase by co-founders Jack Ma and Joseph Tsai AFP News

Global stocks mostly rose Wednesday, fueled by some strong earnings results in New York, robust business activity in Europe, and intervention by regulators in China.

Wall Street stocks were mixed, with the S&P 500 rising 0.1 percent to hit a new record, the Dow slipping and the Nasdaq finishing higher.

Amid individual companies, Netflix shares surged more than 10 percent as it reported adding some 13 million subscribers in the most recent quarter, raising hopes about results from other tech giants.

Besides Netflix, most other large tech companies including Amazon and Meta Platforms climbed higher ahead of earnings reports, while Microsoft edged above $3 trillion in market value before finishing the day just below it with a gain of 0.9 percent.

Analysts also cited favorable US purchasing managers' survey data from S&P Global that showed both manufacturing and services in expansion.

The upbeat US data "continues the same trend that we saw last year when the economic growth was stronger than expected all year and the big slowdown that people were looking for never occurred," said LBBW's Karl Haeling.

"This is overall a good situation for stocks because it gives you hope for a soft landing," he said.

US car giant Tesla's shares fell around three percent in after-hours trading after its fourth quarter revenue and profit missed analysts' expectations.

In Europe, Frankfurt and Paris made gains after data showed eurozone business activity fell in January for the eighth straight month, but the rate of decline slowed from December, according to a key survey.

S&P Global's HCOB flash eurozone purchasing managers' index (PMI) registered a figure of 47.9 in January from 47.6 in December. A figure below 50 indicates contraction.

In France, manufacturing and services sectors recorded steepening contractions as output fell at the sharpest rate since September. Business activity also slumped at a faster rate in Germany, the bloc's biggest economy.

"A bad news story is often more powerful than a good news story," noted Kathleen Brooks, research director at trading firm XTB.

"If the eurozone economy is facing a recession this year, as many expect, then the ECB can ride to the rescue, and they have room to cut interest rates," she said, referring to the European Central Bank.

London's benchmark FTSE 100 index also rose -- but less aggressively -- after fresh figures showed UK business activity hit a seven-month high in January as a stronger service sector helped counteract supply disruption in the Red Sea.

S&P Global's flash UK PMI index rose to 52.5 in January from 52.1 in December.

Earlier Wednesday the People's Bank of China said it would next month lower the amount of cash banks must keep in reserve as it looks to ramp up lending to help kick-start the stuttering economy.

That helped Hong Kong stocks rise more than three percent.

Sentiment was also boosted by reports Alibaba's co-founders had bought huge stakes in the firm.

The Hang Seng's rise was fuelled by a 7.3 percent surge in Alibaba on news that Jack Ma and Joseph Tsai had bought about $200 million worth of shares.

Not all indexes in Asia rose. The Nikkei closed down after Bank of Japan governor Kazuo Ueda indicated the Japanese central bank could move away from ultra-loose monetary policy.

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.3 percent at 37,806.39 points (close)

New York - S&P 500: UP 0.1 percent at 4,868.55 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: UP 0.4 percent at 15,481.91 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.6 percent at 7,527.67 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.9 percent at 7,455.64 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX: UP 1.6 percent at 16,889.92 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 2.2 percent at 4,564.11 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.8 percent at 36,226.48 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: UP 3.6 percent at 15,899.87 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 1.8 percent at 2,820.77 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0883 from $1.0854 on Tuesday

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 147.62 yen from 148.35 yen

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2717 from $1.2687

West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.0 percent at $75.09 per barrel

Brent North Sea Crude: UP 0.6 percent at $80.04 per barrel