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Tuesday January 31st, 2023 5:51PM

Global stocks, Wall St futures lower amid inflation pressure

By The Associated Press
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BEIJING (AP) — Global stocks and Wall Street futures fell Friday after higher-than-expected U.S. inflation dashed hopes the Federal Reserve might back off plans for more interest rate hikes.

London and Frankfurt opened lower. Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong retreated. Oil prices declined.

Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index lost 1.1% on Thursday, adding to declines after August inflation stayed near a four-decade high despite four interest rate hikes this year to slow the economy.

On Thursday, U.S. government data showed unemployment claims last week declined while August consumer sales rose. That gives ammunition to Federal Reserve officials who say the economy can tolerate more rate hikes.

Wall Street’s decline indicates “no sign of relief for risk sentiments” while the job market data “provided the go-ahead for further tightening” in monetary policy, Yeap Jun Rong of IG said in a report.

In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London lost 0.3% to 7,262.67 and the DAX in Frankfurt shed 1.7% to 12,731.46. The CAC 40 in Paris sank 1.4% to 6,070.61.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 future was down 0.9%. That for the Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 0.8%.

The S&P 500 sank Thursday after the Labor Department said applications for unemployment benefits last week fell to a four-month low.

The market benchmark is down 4.1% for the week following the biggest pullback in two years on Tuesday after the government reported U.S. consumer prices rose 8.3% from a year earlier and 0.1% compared with July.

The overall figure was down from June’s 9.1% peak. But core inflation, which strips out volatile food and energy prices to give a clearer picture of the trend, rose to 0.6% over the previous month, up from July’s 0.3% increase.

Traders worry rate hikes by the Federal Reserve and central banks in Europe and Asia to control price rises might derail global economic growth. Two of the Fed’s rate hikes this year have been by 0.75 percentage points, triple its usual margin. Traders expect a similar increase this month.

Fed chair Jerome Powell said in August that rates would stay elevated for some time until the U.S. central bank is sure inflation is under control.

The Dow fell 0.6% and the Nasdaq slid 1.4%.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite index lost 2.3% to 3,126.39 after data showed Chinese consumer and factory activity improved in August but were still weak. Housing sales fell 30% from a year earlier under pressure from a government crackdown on debt.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo sank 1.1% to 27,567.65 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong retreated 0.9% to 18,761.69.

The Kospi in Seoul shed 0.8% to 2,382.78 and Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 was 1.5% lower at 6,739.10.

India's Sensex retreated 1.7% to 58,897.88. New Zealand and Southeast Asian markets declined.

Retail sales data gave a mixed view of how American consumers are coping with inflation. Sales rose by an unexpectedly strong 0.3% in August after falling 0.4% in July.

Railroad operators mostly edged higher Thursday after a tentative labor agreement was reached, averting a disruptive strike.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude lost 46 cents to $84.64 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $3.38 on Thursday to $85.10. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trading, sank 33 cents to $90.51 per barrel in London. It lost $3.26 the previous session to $90.84.

The dollar declined to 143.32 yen from Thursday's 143.49 yen. The euro fell to 99.60 cents from 99.91 cents.

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