Global stocks higher as investors await US inflation





BEIJING (AP) — Global stocks were mostly higher Thursday as investors waited for U.S. inflation data that might influence the Federal Reserve’s decision on when to roll back economic stimulus.

London and Frankfurt opened higher while Tokyo declined. Shanghai, Hong Kong and Seoul also advanced.

Wall Street futures were lower after stocks rose for a third day Wednesday as anxiety about the coronavirus’s omicron variant eased.

Traders looked ahead to Friday’s U.S. inflation data for November for indications of whether the Fed might feel more pressure to cool prices by rolling back stimulus that is boosting stock prices.

Fed officials meet next week for the last time in 2021. They said earlier they were ready to act if needed after inflation hit a 30-year high of 6.2% in October.

“Friday’s inflation reading will undoubtedly be top of mind” for Fed officials, Matt Weller of StoneX Financial said in a report. The headline figure is “expected to rise even further.”

Also Thursday, China reported inflation in prices paid by factories for components and raw materials eased in November from the previous month’s 25-year high. That is seen by traders as a possible guide to U.S. inflation due to China’s role as a global manufacturing center.

In early trading, London’s FTSE 100 rose 0.3% to 7,358.66 and the DAX in Frankfurt added 0.1% to 15,702.33. The CAC 40 in Paris gained 0.3% to 7,036.54.

On Wall Street, futures for the benchmark S&P 500 index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were off 0.2%.

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 rose 0.3%. It is up 25.2% for the year. Some 62% of stocks in the index advanced.

The Dow added 0.1% and the Nasdaq composite rose 0.6%.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index 1% to 3,673.04 after producer price inflation eased to 12.9% over a year earlier from October’s 13.5% as prices of coal and metals fell.

“Efforts to tamp down energy prices appear to be working,” David Chao of Invesco said in a report. “It’s possible that producer prices and inflation could continue to moderate.”

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo lost 0.5% to 28,725.47 while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong advanced 1.1% to 24,254.86.

The Kospi in Seoul gained 0.9% to 3,029.57 while Sydney’s S&P-ASX shed 0.3% to 7,384.50.

India’s Sensex was little-changed at 58,646.60. New Zealand and Bangkok declined while Singapore and Jakarta gained.

U.S. stocks slipped over the previous two weeks due to concern about inflation and the omicron variant. Stocks steadied after the chief White House medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said Monday early signs suggest it might be less dangerous than the earlier delta variant.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude lost 11 cents to $72.23 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 31 cents on Wednesday to $72.36. Brent crude, the price basis for international oils, declined 20 cents to $75.62 per barrel in London. It rose 38 cents to $75.82 the previous session.

The dollar declined to 113.45 yen from Wednesday’s 113.67 yen. The euro declined to $1.1333 from $1.1349.