Global stocks mostly up before key US inflation data

AFP , Thursday 12 Jan 2023

Global stock markets mostly rose Thursday before data that is widely expected to show another softening of US consumer inflation, giving the Federal Reserve room to slow its interest rate hikes.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during morning trading on January 04, 2023, in New York City. U.S. stocks rose at the start of the second day of trading in 2023. AFP


Equities also found support for growing optimism over China's economic reopening.

Wall Street had provided a strong lead, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq soaring Wednesday thanks to demand for recently beaten-down tech firms.

The US consumer price index (CPI) reading due Thursday is the key event for investors, though analysts warned that an above-forecast reading would deal a hefty blow to confidence on trading floors.

The data "could determine whether the relatively positive sentiment seen so far in 2023 can be maintained, given the influence this data point has on the Federal Reserve's interest rate policy", said Russ Mould, investment research director at British brokerage AJ Bell.

Fed pivot coming?

Stock market gains were also helped by comments from Fed official Susan Collins backing a quarter-point US rate hike at the bank's next policy decision on February 1.

Collins, who is head of the Boston Fed, told The New York Times that slowing the pace of increases would give policymakers a chance to see how their efforts to rein in decades-high inflation were working.

Investors are also keeping tabs on developments in China as it emerges from years of strict zero-Covid containment measures.

While the long-term outlook remains positive, soaring infections across the country are leading to worries about the effect on economic activity.

World oil prices also jumped on expectations of rebounding Chinese energy demand.

"Energy traders should get used to seeing oil prices head higher," said Oanda analyst Edward Moya. "Oil demand is coming back and expectations are high that China's demand is about to skyrocket."

Several oil experts have tipped prices to hit $100 a barrel this year, with top hedge fund manager Pierre Andurand predicting last week that it could pass $140.

Key figures around 1200 GMT

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.7 percent at 7,779.58 points

Frankfurt - DAX: UP 0.7 percent at 15,054.19

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.8 percent at 6,981.28

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.7 percent at 4,128.57

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: FLAT at 26,449.82 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: UP 0.4 percent at 21,514.10 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.1 percent at 3,163.45 (close)

New York - Dow: UP 0.8 percent at 33,973.01 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0761 from $1.0757 on Wednesday

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 130.95 yen from 132.45 yen

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2170 from $1.2146

Euro/pound: DOWN at 88.43 pence from 88.56 pence

Brent North Sea crude: UP 1.0 percent at $83.51 a barrel

West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.0 percent at $78.17 a barrel

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