Stock market today: Global shares trade higher ahead of US updates on inflation and hiring


BEIJING (AP) — Global stock markets were mostly higher Thursday ahead of updates on United States inflation and hiring that traders hope will persuade the Federal Reserve no more interest rate hikes are needed.

London, Tokyo and Paris advanced. Shanghai declined. Oil prices rose.

Wall Street futures were higher after the U.S. government cut its estimate of economic growth for the second quarter to a still-robust level.

The U.S. government was due to issue an inflation update Thursday in a report on personal consumption and expenditures — the measure of prices most closely watched by the Fed. It eased to 3% in July from last year’s peak of 7%.

Monthly employment data for August are due out Friday following reports this week that hiring is cooling.

The latest data “bolster the case for no change in rates” at the Fed’s September meeting, said Rubeela Farooqi of High-Frequency Economics in a report.

In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London gained less than 0.1% to 7,475.07. The CAC 40 in Paris rose 0.2% to 7,378.61 and the DAX in Frankfurt advanced 0.6% to 15,984.44.

On Wall Street, the future for the benchmark S&P 500 index was up less than 0.1%. That for the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.3%.

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 advanced 0.4% after the U.S. government cut its quarterly growth estimate for an annual rate of 2.1% from 2.4%. That still is up from 2% during the first quarter.

The S&P 500 is off this year’s peak in July but up 17.6% for the first eight months of 2023.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.1%. The Nasdaq gained 0.5% to 14,019.31. It’s up nearly 34% for the year.

Official data Tuesday showed U.S. hiring is cooling, another possible data point in favor of the Fed holding steady on interest rates that are at a 22-year high to cool inflation. Fed officials have said rate decisions will be guided by readings on hiring, inflation and consumer spending.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.6% to 3,119.87 after a monthly index of Chinese service industries declined to 51 from June’s 51.2 on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 show activity growing. A separate manufacturing index improved to 49.7 but still showed activity contracting.

Chinese economic growth slid to 0.8% over the previous quarter in the three months ending June from the January-March quarter’s 2.2%. Exports have contracted and retail spending is weak.

The latest figures suggest Asia’s biggest economy is not “definitively growing,” said Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management in a report. “These figures might not sufficiently reassure the markets.”

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo gained 0.9% to 32,619.34 after official data showed Japanese factory activity shrank by 2% from the previous month in July.

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong retreated 0.6% to 18,382.06 and the Kospi in Seoul lost 0.2% to 2,556.27.

Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 gained 0.1% to 7,305.30 while India’s Sensex shed 0.2% to 64,962.20.

New Zealand and Singapore advanced while Bangkok and Jakarta declined.

Traders hope the the Fed can pull off a “soft landing,” or bringing inflation under control without tipping the U.S. economy into recession. The central bank held rates steady at its last meeting. Investors expect the same at its meeting in September.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude oil gained 23 cents to $81.86 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 47 cents on Wednesday to $81.63. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trading, advanced 19 cents to $85.43 per barrel in London. It gained 37 cents the previous session to $85.86.

The dollar declined to 145.74 yen from Wednesday’s 146.20 yen. The euro edged down to $1.0887 from $1.0923.

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