As investors exercised caution a day after the deadly attacks in Brussels, stock markets in Asia ended the day mostly mixed. Meanwhile, European markets gained ground, albeit moderately, as travel-related shares recovered Wednesday.
On Tuesday, the pan-European benchmark Stoxx 600 closed down 0.2 percent, as spooked investors rushed to safe assets such as gold and government bonds and as shares of airlines and travel companies plunged. However, on Wednesday, as travel-related stocks posted modest gains — with shares of tour operator Thomas Cook jumping 2.8 percent, and shares of low-cost airlines EasyJet rising 0.86 percent in early trade in London — the Stoxx 600 rose 0.4 percent.
Belgium’s benchmark BEL 20 index, which ended flat Tuesday after hours of volatile trade, also recovered, trading up 0.7 percent.
“It’s reassuring that investors can focus on better earnings, a steady global economy and supportive central banks,” Ben Kumar, an investment manager at Seven Investment Management in London, told Bloomberg. “Yesterday’s tragedy hit at all the unrest around Europe, and yet markets managed to digest it with a certain resilience. That wouldn’t have been the case two months ago.”
U.S. shares, however, are expected to begin Wednesday’s trade mostly flat, as stock futures for the Dow Jones, S&P 500 and Nasdaq remain unchanged.
In Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 closed down 0.3 percent, while South Korea's Kospi Composite Index edged 0.1 percent lower. China’s Shanghai Composite index rose nearly 0.4 percent, while India’s S&P BSE Sensex ended the day flat.
Oil prices, meanwhile, dropped slightly. Futures for the U.S. crude benchmark, the West Texas Intermediate, dropped 0.7 percent to $41.17 a barrel, while Brent crude, the international benchmark, fell 0.34 percent to $41.65 a barrel in London.