Global stocks are mixed as investors wait for US inflation update

AP , Tuesday 9 Apr 2024

European equities dipped in early trading Tuesday while Asian stocks closed mostly higher, as investors mainly focused on a U.S. inflation report and what it means for interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve.

People walk past the New York Stock Exchange Tuesday, April 9, 2024 in New York
People walk past the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday, April 9, 2024, in New York. AP

 

Oil prices advanced.

Germany’s DAX shed 0.7% to 18,185.55. In Paris, the CAC 40 dropped 0.6% to 8,071.74. In London, the FTSE 100 edged 0.2% higher, to 7,958.24.

The future for the S&P 500 was flat and that for the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.1%.

In Asian trading, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 1.1% and ended at 39,773.13. The Japanese yen languished as the U.S. dollar edged up to 151.91 yen, coming close to a 34-year high of 151.97 yen, which it hit in late March.

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose for a second day, adding 0.6% to 16,828.07, and the Shanghai Composite index edged up less than 0.1% to 3,048.54.

In South Korea, the Kospi lost 0.5% to 2,705.16, and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.5% to 7,824.20.

An update on the U.S. consumer price index was due later Wednesday.

“The upbeat sentiment stemming from Friday’s jobs report, where indexes surged following wage-growth data suggesting contained inflationary pressures, has set the stage for a white knuckle event as the forthcoming consumer-price index release looms larger than life,” said Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI Asset Management.

U.S. stock indexes were at a virtual standstill Monday as trading calmed after a whirlwind couple of days left them a bit shy of their records.

The S&P 500 edged down less than 0.1% to 5,202.39. The Dow Jones Industrial Average tiptoed less than 0.1% lower to 38,892.80, while the Nasdaq composite inched 5 points higher to 16,253.96.

A string of reports showing inflation and the economy has remained hotter than expected has led investors to delay forecasts for when relief on rates could arrive.

This week has several flashpoints that could further swing expectations. Apart from Wednesday’s report on the inflation that U.S. consumers are feeling at cash registers, there will be reports on inflation at the wholesale level and on expectations for future inflation among U.S. households.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell said recently that he still expects cuts to interest rates this year, but the central bank needs additional confirmation inflation is heading toward its target of 2%. The Fed has been holding its main interest rate at the highest level since 2001, hoping to grind down enough on the economy and prices for investments to get inflation under control. The risk of holding rates too high for too long is that it could cause a recession.

Friday’s surprisingly strong jobs report showed that workers’ average hourly wages were behaving as expected, even though employers hired far more workers than expected last month.

This week brings the start of another earnings reporting season. Delta Air Lines, JPMorgan Chase, and other banks will headline the earliest days of the reporting period. Analysts are expecting companies across the S&P 500 to deliver a third straight quarter of growth.

Benchmark U.S. crude added 37 cents to $86.79 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standards, was 35 cents higher at $90.73 a barrel.

In currency trading, the euro cost $1.0860, up from $1.0856.

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