Stock markets still buoyed by US inflation data

New York - Stock markets rose on Friday, still riding the positive US inflation data from earlier this week as investors mull the size of the next interest rate move by the US Federal Reserve.
The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all piled on at least one percent, adding to the weekly gains for all three indices.
In Europe, London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index ended the day 0.5 percent higher, Frankfurt’s DAX gained 0.7 percent and Paris’s CAC 40 index added 0.1 percent.
“This week has been all about the inflation data and, frankly, it could be the dominant force in the markets now right up until the Jackson Hole symposium,” said OANDA analyst Craig Erlam, referring to an upcoming meeting of central bankers from around the world at the end of August.
“The fact that inflation not only decelerated in the US, but at a faster pace than the consensus forecasts was a double win and risk assets are feeling the benefit,” Erlam said.
But whether the improved data hearkens a pivot in Federal Reserve policy anytime soon remains an open question.
The markets have been concerned that, after two consecutive Fed increases in borrowing costs of three-quarters of a percentage point, further hikes of a similar magnitude could choke off economic recovery.
Fed officials have thus far lined up to try to defuse speculation that the cycle of monetary policy tightening could be coming to an end anytime soon.
Cresset Asset Management’s Jack Ablin attributed the gains to a “sentiment shift” that he cautioned may be excessive given the limited evidence thus far.
“It’s just momentum and positivity that’s driving the market higher,” Ablin told AFP. “It seems like some of the bullish investors may be getting ahead of themselves.”
UBS Financial Services analyst Terri Jacobsen said she expected “headwinds for the markets until we get some resolution on how far the Fed is going to go and how long they’re going to raise interest rates”.
On the corporate front, five major Chinese companies, including two of the country’s largest oil producers, said they would delist from the New York Stock Exchange.
The news comes amid rising tensions between Beijing and Washington following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit to Taiwan, which China claims as part of its territory.
Sinopec and PetroChina -- two of the world’s biggest energy firms -- will apply for “voluntary delisting” of their American depositary shares, the companies said in separate statements.
The Aluminum Corporation of China, also known as Chalco, as well as China Life Insurance and a Shanghai-based Sinopec subsidiary, announced similar moves.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt