World equities made an attempt at recovery on Thursday, with investors trying to focus on positive economic news rather than the prospect of a debilitating global trade war.
A fall in weekly jobless claims in the US served as a reminder that the world’s biggest economy is humming along nicely, while President Donald Trump’s appointment of new White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow brought a modicum of stability, analysts said.
But investors remained on tenterhooks while concerns grew over a possible trade war sparked by Trump’s ‘America First’ protectionist policies.
A note from JPMorgan Chase alluded to rising anxiety, but said the baseline forecast remains ‘no trade policy changes large enough to damage the US macroeconomy.’
Between the US and China, JPMorgan expects ‘a bumpy path to negotiation instead of a full-fledged trade war.’
‘Trade confrontation is a ‘lose-lose’ situation rather than a zero-sum game,’ the note said. ‘It will not only hurt China and those countries along the production chain, but also hurt the US with prices increasing and trade deficit not necessarily improving.’
Senior White House advisor Peter Navarro, usually seen as among Trump’s most hawkish experts on trade, on Thursday tried to ease those fears, telling CNBC that the administration planned to work with allies ‘to make things better for everybody.’ 
But Navarro also said Trump would soon consider fresh punitive measures against Beijing over its ‘theft’ of US intellectual property.
European stocks, along with Tokyo and Hong Kong, all finished higher. 
US stocks were mixed, with the Dow rising slightly and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq both ending with modest losses. 
Among individual names, Unilever shares in London fell 1.7 percent after the company announced it was moving its headquarters to the Netherlands, a move widely seen as a response to Britain’s imminent pullout from the European Union.
Alibaba jumped 3.4 percent following a news report the online retail giant plans a stock listing in China.
Monsanto sank 4.9 percent following a Bloomberg report that US Justice Department antitrust officials are balking at the company’s proposed $66 billion takeover by German company Bayer.
Toy makers Mattel fell 2.4 percent and Hasbro 0.4 percent after bankrupt retail giant Toys ‘R’ Us announced plans to liquidate its US stores.
Key figures around 2100 GMT
New York – Dow: UP 0.5 percent at 24,873.66 (close)
New York – S&P 500: DOWN 0.1 percent at 2,747.33 (close)
New York – Nasdaq: DOWN 0.1 percent at 7,481.74 (close)
London – FTSE 100: UP 0.1 percent at 7,139.76 (close)
Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.9 percent at 12,345.56 (close) 
Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.7 percent at 5,267.26 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.8 percent at 3,417.11 (close)
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.1 percent at 21,803.95 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 0.3 percent at 31,541.10 (close)
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $ 1.2300 from $1.2368 at 2200 GMT Wednesday
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $ 1.3933 from $1.3962
Dollar/yen: UP at 106.39 yen from 106.32 yen
Oil – Brent North Sea: UP 23 cents at $65.12 per barrel
Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP 23 cents at $61.19 per barrel