By ELAINE KURTENBACH
AP Business Writer
BANGKOK (AP) — Shares rose in early European trading on Wednesday after a mixed day in Asia, while oil prices climbed more than $1 a barrel.
Trading on Istanbul’s stock exchange was suspended after the market benchmark sank more than 7% as Turkey struggled with the aftermath of a magnitude 7.8 earthquake that has killed more than 9,500 people. It was unclear when trading would resume. U.S. futures edged lower and oil prices climbed more than $1.
Investors appear to have been reassured by comments Tuesday by the chair of the Federal Reserve signaling that an unexpectedly strong U.S. strong jobs report won’t by itself sway the central bank’s stance on interest rates hikes.
Germany’s DAX added 0.5% to 15,455.11 while the CAC 40 in Paris advanced 0.6% to 3,901.39. London’s FTSE 100 surged 0.7% to 7,922.62.
The future for the S&P 500 lost 0.3% while that for the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.2%.
Investors are caught between hopes that the Fed will ease back on rate hikes because inflation is cooling and worries that strong employment data augur a potential rebound in price pressures, Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management said in a commentary.
“For the next little while, the central banks aren’t as important as the economic data will be,” Innes said. “With markets operating in a macro vacuum today, investors aren’t exactly scrambling to put on risk.”
Tokyo shares were weighed down by losses in electronics and tech-related companies like Nintendo and Sharp Corp. that have reported weaker earnings than expected.
SoftBank fell 5.1% after reporting its net profit sank $5.9 billion in the last quarter. Nintendo sank 7.5% following its latest earnings update, which showed a slight decline in profit in April-December from the year before. Sharp’s shares dived 12.6%.
The Nikkei 225 index lost 0.3% to 27,606.46. The Shanghai Composite index shed 0.5% to 3,232.11. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng edged 0.1% lower to 21,283.52. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.4% to 7,530.10.
South Korea’s Kospi advanced 1.3% to 3,396.58. Shares slipped in Bangkok and rose in Taiwan and Singapore.
Tuesday on Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 climbed 1.3% and the Dow gained 0.8%. The Nasdaq jumped 1.9%.
High inflation and how much the Fed will raise interest rates to combat it have been at the center of Wall Street’s gyrations in the last year. Fed Chair Jerome Powell said on Tuesday that progress is being made on inflation, though a long battle remains.
That echoed similar comments he made last week, after the Fed approved its smallest increase to interest rates since March. But news Friday that employers added a third of a million more jobs than expected last month revived raised concerns about upward pressure on inflation. Higher rates can drive down inflation but also hurt the economy and investment prices.
Powell said Tuesday at the Economic Club of Washington, D.C., that the market’s big moves since the jobs report have gotten it closer to in sync with the Fed’s thinking.
“We have a significant road ahead to get inflation down to 2%,” which is the Fed’s target, Powell said. “There’s been an expectation that it will go away quickly and painlessly. I don’t think that’s at all guaranteed.”
Despite all the market’s recent moves, the S&P 500 is up 8.5% this year. Much of that was due to easing worries the economy may fall into a severe recession, a scenario described in markets as a “hard landing.”
In other trading Wednesday, U.S. benchmark crude oil rose $1.13 to $78.27 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained $3.03 to $77.14 per barrel on Tuesday.
Brent crude, the pricing benchmark for international trading, added $1.03 cents to $84.72 per barrel.
The U.S. dollar fell to 130.82 Japanese yen from 131.11 yen. The euro rose to $1.0745 from $1.0726.
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