France’s CAC 40 edged up 0.1% to 7,050.48 in early trading, while Germany’s DAX lost 0.2% to 16,033.55. Britain’s FTSE 100 added 0.3% to 7,363.95. U.S. shares were set to drift higher with Dow futures rising nearly 0.1% to 36,012.00. S&P 500 futures advanced 0.2% to 4,649.75.
In Japan, where investors are awaiting an economic stimulus package from newly elected Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, the benchmark Nikkei 225 climbed 0.6% to finish at 29,277.86. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.6% to 7,381.90. South Korea’s Kospi shed 0.2% to 2,925.16. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 1.0% to 25,251.05, while the Shanghai Composite gained 1.2% to 3,532.79.
A recent regulatory crackdown in China has weighed on technology issues, but some stocks are recovering as investors decide the selloff may have been overdone.
On Wednesday, the S&P 500 lost 0.8% to 4,646.71 for its second straight drop. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.7% to 36,079.94. The Nasdaq composite, which has more tech stocks, dropped more, losing 1.7% to 15,662.71.
Prices for beef, electricity and other items that U.S. consumers paid in October surged from year-earlier levels at the fastest overall pace since 1990, raising expectations that the Federal Reserve will have to hike short-term interest rates more quickly off their record low. That sent Treasury yields to their biggest gains in months.
Pushed by the inflation report, investors are now pricing in a 66.5% chance that the Fed will raise rates by the end of June. A day earlier, that probability was at 50.9%.
The Fed has been keeping overnight rates at a record low of nearly zero since March 2020 to resuscitate markets and the economy from the pandemic. It has already begun to pare back on bond purchases it makes every month to keep longer-term rates low.
Other central banks have mostly kept rates low, though some including New Zealand and Indonesia are already acting to tighten policy.
In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude lost 27 cents to $81.07 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, fell 11 cents to $82.53 a barrel.
In currency trading, the U.S. dollar edged up to 114.02 Japanese yen from 113.90 yen. The euro cost $1.1473, inching down from $1.1478.