NEW YORK, Sept 23 (Reuters) – Share prices firmed after an Asian equities selloff on Wednesday, with investors taking cues from rising commodity prices and looking past China’s worst manufacturing contraction since the global financial crisis.
Prices of U.S. Treasuries and other safe-haven government debt eased, Wall Street was little changed and European stocks were up. Volkswagen rallied after its CEO resigned. In contrast, Asian equity markets tumbled after a Chinese purchasing managers index intensified fears a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy will spread more widely.
Copper bounced from near four-week lows as short sellers took profits. Brent crude oil prices inched toward $50 per barrel after data showed a decline in U.S. stockpiles last week.
The Dow Jones industrial average was off 5.75 points, or 0.04 percent, to 16,324.72, the S&P 500 was up 4.29 points, or 0.22 percent, to 1,947.03 and the Nasdaq Composite added 19.19 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,775.91.
Growth in the U.S. manufacturing sector showed no month-over-month change in September, staying at its weakest in almost two years, according to an industry report.
Europe’s FTSEuroFirst index of leading 300 European shares was up 0.3 percent at 1,368 points, Germany’s DAX was up 0.4 percent, and Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 1.7 percent.
A recovery in shares of scandal-hit Volkswagen AG , which had lost more than a third of their value in the first two days of this week, also spurred the recovery in European shares.
Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned, taking responsibility for the German carmaker’s rigging of U.S. emissions tests. Shares rose 5.9 percent.
European mining shares were up 1 percent after falling to their lowest level since 2009 as copper and nickel advanced.
“Headwinds from the emerging market turmoil are not derailing the euro zone recovery,” said Marco Valli, chief euro zone economist at Unicredit.
Treasuries prices fell along with German Bunds that typically rise during equity markets downturns. The benchmark 10-year Treasury last yielded 2.17 percent, reflecting a decline in price of 12/32.
Yields on benchmark German bonds also rose as much as 3 basis points.
Asian stocks posted their biggest single-day fall since Aug. 24, with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan down 2.3 percent.
The MSCI world index was flat.
Positive reaction in Europe to regional PMIs helped the euro rise a third of one percent to $1.1160. The dollar was up 0.30 against the yen at 120.50 yen.
In emerging markets, Brazil’s real languished at a record low against the dollar, having fallen through the 4 per dollar level on Tuesday for the first time ever.. It has now lost around 55 percent this year.
Platinum slid on fears about reduced demand from the auto sector, where it is used in diesel catalysts to clean up exhaust emissions. It fell to its lowest since January 2009 at $925.30 an ounce, before recouping some losses.
The metal has been hurt by news of Volkswagen’s falsification of U.S. vehicle emission tests as investors believed it could affect demand for diesel cars.