Global stock markets were mixed Monday ahead of a U.S. inflation update traders worry might lead to more interest rate hikes.
London opened higher and Shanghai advanced. Frankfurt, Tokyo and Hong Kong declined. Oil prices fell. Traders hope Tuesday's inflation data will show upward pressure on U.S. prices is easing, which might encourage the Federal Reserve to ease off efforts to cool business activity and hiring. They worry a strong reading after estimates of 2022 inflation were revised up last week would reinforce plans to keep rates high and possibly increase them.
A strong inflation figure “can move through risk assets like a wrecking ball,” said Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management in a report.
In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London rose 0.3 per cent to 7,903.02. The DAX in Frankfurt sank 1.4 per cent to 15,307.98 and the CAC 40 in Paris shed 0.8 per cent to 7,129.73.
On Wall Street, futures for the benchmark S&P 500 index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.3 per cent. On Friday, the S&P 500 index rose 0.2 per cent. The index turned in a weekly loss of 1.1 per cent, its biggest since December. The Dow gained 0.5 per cent and the Nasdaq fell less than 0.1 per cent.
In Asia, the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo sank 0.9 per cent to 27,427.32 while the Shanghai Composite Index advanced 0.6 per cent to 3,279.94. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 0.4 per cent to 21,099.65. The Kospi in Seoul declined 0.6 per cent to 2,453.89 and Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 shed 0.2% to 7,417.80.
India's Sensex opened down 0.5% to 60,386.40. New Zealand and Singapore retreated while Jakarta and Bangkok gained. U.S. stocks have been rallying since last month on hopes the Fed might start cutting rates as early as late this year. That is despite warnings by Chair Jerome Powell that rates will stay elevated for an extended period until inflation pressures are extinguished.
Other central banks in Europe and Asia also have raised rates to cool inflation. Wall Street raised its forecast of how high the Fed might raise rates after Powell said last week there is a “significant road ahead” to get inflation down to its 2% target. He warned against expecting inflation to “go away quickly and painlessly.”
The U.S. government revised December inflation to 0.1 per cent over the previous month, up from the earlier estimate of a 0.1 per cent decline. The November figure was raised to 0.2 per cent over the previous month from 0.1 per cent. Traders expect Tuesday's report to say consumer prices rose 0.5 per cent in January over the previous month.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury bond, or the difference between the market price and the payout at maturity, widened to 3.73 per cent on Friday from 3.66 per cent. The yield on the two-year Treasury ticked up to 4.50 per cent from 4.48 per cent. It was at 4.08 per cent just over a week earlier and is near its highest level since November.
Equities analysts have cut forecasts of first-quarter earnings for companies in the S&P 500 by 4.5 per cent due to the impact of inflation and slowing economic activity, according to strategists at Credit Suisse. News Corp. fell 9.4 per cent after the owner of The Wall Street Journal and other media reported weaker quarterly results than expected. Expedia lost 8.6 per cent after reporting weaker profit and revenue for the latest quarter than expected.
Oil prices fell back following a surge Friday after Russia said it would cut production by 500,000 barrels per day next month. Western governments have imposed an upper limit on how much they will allow customers to pay for Russian crude to punish Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.
In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude lost 84 cents to USD 78.88 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose USD 1.66 to USD 79.72 on Friday. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trading, shed 81 cents to USD 85.58 per barrel in London. It gained USD 1.89 on Friday to USD 86.39. The dollar gained to 132.27 yen from Friday's 131.50 yen. The euro declined to USD 1.0666 from USD 1.0672.