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Global stocks mixed after Wall Street sinks for third day

Joe McDonald

BEIJING (AP) – Major global stock markets fell yesterday ahead of data on United States (US) employment costs that might influence Federal Reserve decisions on interest rate hikes to cool inflation.

London and Frankfurt opened lower. Tokyo and Seoul advanced while Shanghai and Hong Kong declined.

Wall Street futures were mixed after US stocks declined on Thursday for a third day as investors tried to figure out how quickly the Fed might raise interest rates. Markets have been volatile since the Fed said in mid-December stimulus that is boosting stock prices would be wound down sooner than planned after inflation spiked to a 39-year high.

The Employment Cost Index due out yesterday is expected to show the price of American labour rose by about 1.2 per cent over the previous quarter in the final three months of 2021.

“Another strong wage gain could amplify market expectations of an unusually large rate hike of 0.5 percentage points as early as March,” Anderson Alves of ActivTrades said in a report.

In early trading, London’s FTSE 100 lost 0.3 per cent to 7,531.13 and the DAX in Frankfurt fell 1.4 per cent to 15,311.15. The CAC 40 in Paris shed 0.7 per cent to 6,975.01.

On Wall Street, the future for the benchmark S&P 500 index was up less than 0.1 per cent.

That for the Dow Jones Industrial Average was off less than 0.1 per cent.

A man walks in front of an electronic stock board at a securities firm. PHOTO: AP

On Thursday, the S&P 500 fell for a third day, losing 0.5 per cent after official data showed the US economy grew 5.7 per cent last year, its strongest rate since 1984’s 7.2 per cent jump.

The index is within 10 points of entering a correction, meaning a drop of 10 per cent from its January 3 all-time high.

The Dow slipped less than 0.1 per cent. The Nasdaq composite dropped 1.4 per cent.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index lost one per cent to 3,361.44 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong shed 1.1 per cent to 23,550.08.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo surged 2.1 per cent to 26,717.34, recovering most of its losses from the previous day’s 2.5 per cent slide.

The Kospi in Seoul rose 1.9 per cent to 2,663.34 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 advanced 2.2 per cent to 6,988.10.

India’s Sensex gained less than 0.1 per cent to 57,322.38. New Zealand and Singapore declined while other Southeast Asian markets rose.

Stocks are on a roller coaster ride investors try to figure out what the Fed will do after Powell said this week inflation pressures aren’t easing.

In energy markets, benchmark US crude rose 31 cents to USD86.92 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the price basis for international oils, advanced 23 cents to USD88.40 per barrel in London.

The dollar gained to JPY115.53 from Thursday’s JPY115.31. The euro declined to USD1.1134 from USD1.1142.

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