Asian stocks higher after Fed says rate hikes may be needed
BEIJING — Global stock markets and Wall Street futures gained Thursday after lower oil prices helped to offset fears about surging inflation the Federal Reserve said might require more U.S. interest rate hikes.
London and Frankfurt opened higher. Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong advanced. Oil prices edged up after falling below $100 per barrel this week.
Investors worry aggressive U.S. and European rate hikes to contain prices rises that are running at a four-decade high might depress global economic activity.
“Stocks rose because runaway commodity and oil prices are sinking,” said Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management. “Both are the critical targets Fed policy is engineered to tame; hence, inflation expectation is coming under control.”
In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London gained 0.7% to 7,156.84. The DAX in Frankfurt added 1.4% to 12,775.06 and the CAC 40 in Paris advanced 1.3% to 5,989.14.
On Wall Street, the future for the benchmark S&P 500 index was up 0.2% after notes released Wednesday from the latest Fed meeting said “an even more restrictive stance could be appropriate” to get inflation back to its 2% target. Fed officials acknowledged that could weaken the economy.
On Wednesday, the S&P 500 gained 0.4%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.2% and the Nasdaq composite was 0.3% higher.
In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.3% to 3,364.40 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo gained 1.5% to 26,490.53. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong closed 0.3% higher at 21,643.58 after spending much of the day in negative territory.
The Kospi in Seoul climbed 1.8% to 2,334.27 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 was up 0.8% at 6,648.00.
India’s Sensex advanced 0.7% to 54,107.97. New Zealand declined while Southeast Asian markets advanced.
The Fed raised its key interest rate last month by three-quarters of a point to a range of 1.5% to 1.75%, the biggest single increase in nearly three decades. Chair Jerome Powell suggested at that time a rate hike of one-half or three-quarters of a point, three times the Fed’s usual margin, was likely when policymakers meet later this month.
Notes released Wednesday from the Fed’s June 14-15 meeting confirmed other officials agreed that such an increase would “likely be appropriate.”
Inflation has been boosted by Russia’s attack on Ukraine, which pushed up prices of oil and other commodities, and Chinese anti-virus controls that shut down Shanghai and other industrial centers and disrupted supply chains.
Oil prices closed below $100 per barrel on Tuesday for the first time since early May, but U.S. crude is still up more than 30% this year.
Benchmark U.S. crude gained 40 cents to $98.94 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost 97 cents to $98.53 a barrel Wednesday. Brent crude, the price basis for international trading, rose 37 cents to $101.06 per barrel in London. It tumbled $2.08 the previous session to $100.69.
The dollar gained to 136.12 yen from Wednesday’s 135.98 yen. The euro edged down to $1.0187 from $1.0182.
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