World shares higher ahead of U.S. inflation update

BANGKOK (AP) — Stocks were higher in Europe and Asia ahead of an update Friday on U.S. wholesale prices that will provide insight into how companies are coping with inflation.

Germany’s DAX rose 0.2% to 14,295.30 while Paris’ CAC 40 was almost unchanged at 6,649.30. Britain’s FTSE 100 was also little changed, gaining less than 2 points to 7,474.82.

S&P 500 futures rose 0.2%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.1%.

Chinese benchmarks rose on Friday on reports that the government is planning new measures to support the struggling real estate sector, which has been a serious drag on growth in recent years.

Property stocks got a boost from Sunac China Holdings’ announcement which has made “considerable progress” in restructuring $9.1 billion of its $11 billion in offshore debt. More than a third of the total was initially due to fall by the end of the year.

Trading of Sunac shares in Hong Kong was suspended from April 1. But shares of other major real estate developers rose. Country Garden Holdings rose 8.5% and China Vanke shares rose 5.6%.

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Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 2.3% to 19,900.87, while the Shanghai Composite rose 0.3% to 3,206.95.

The relaxation of some of China’s “zero COVID” rules it is also raising hopes that the economy will gain momentum, although experts say it will take months for tourism and other businesses to recover from the pandemic’s disruptions.

While outside experts had increasingly criticized China’s containment policy, which sought to isolate all cases, as unsustainable, they have also warned that the country will now face a challenging first wave as the loosened measures , will undoubtedly fuel an increase in cases.

“Asian stocks are slightly higher, but the overall exuberance has been dampened by rising COVID cases and skepticism about the strength of the economic reopening implied by the current level of Asian risk assets” , Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management said in a comment. .

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 rose 1.2% to 27,901.01 and Seoul’s Kospi rose 0.8% to 2,389.04. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.5% to 7,213.20.

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On Thursday, the S&P 500 rose 0.8%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite closed up 1.1%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.5% and the Russell 2000 index of small caps added 0.6%.

The major indexes are all in the red for the week and have been swinging between big monthly gains and losses throughout the year. Investor concerns about inflation, rising interest rates and recession risks have led to a volatile market. This has also left Wall Street focused on data points in the economy, particularly inflation.

Activision Blizzard lost 1.5% after the Federal Trade Commission said it is suing to block Microsoft’s planned $69 billion takeover of the video game company, saying it could eliminate competitors from its Xbox game consoles and its growing game subscription business. Microsoft rose 1.2%.

On Thursday, the US reported that slightly more Americans filed for unemployment last week, but not as many as economists had predicted. The labor market remains one of the strongest pockets of the economy, which has been weighed down by the weight of stubbornly hot inflation and rising interest rates.

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In addition to Friday’s wholesale price update, the University of Michigan will release its consumer sentiment survey for December.

Resilience in consumer spending, in part tied to strong employment, has made it difficult to fight inflation, increasing risks that the Federal Reserve will go too far in raising interest rates. At the same time, it has been keeping the economy strong enough to avoid recession.

The Fed meets next week and is expected to raise its benchmark interest rate, which is now between 3.75% and 4%, the highest in 15 years, by half a percentage point.


In other trading, benchmark U.S. crude gained 94 cents to $72.40 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It settled 0.8% lower at $71.46 a barrel on Thursday.

Brent crude added 87 cents to $77.02 a barrel.

The US dollar fell from 136.69 yen to 136.17 Japanese yen. The euro rose to $1.0564 from $1.0556.


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