By YURI KAGEYAMA
AP Business Writer
TOKYO (AP) — Global shares were mostly lower Thursday as investors grew cautious after Wall Street’s biggest pullback of the year.
France’s CAC 40 lost 0.4% in early trading to 7,052.61, while Germany’s DAX edged down 0.5% to 15,106.21. Britain’s FTSE 100 fell nearly 0.6% to 7,787.49. The future for the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.4% lower while that for the S&P 500 declined 0.3%.
Japan reported its trade deficit more than doubled in December from a year earlier, to 1.4 trillion yen ($11.3 billion), while the total deficit for all of 2022 ballooned to nearly 20 trillion yen ($156 billion) as the yen weakened and soaring costs for oil and other imports far outpaced an 18% increase in exports.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped 1.4% to 26,405.23. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.6% to 7,435.30. South Korea’s Kospi added 0.5% to 2,380.34. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.1% to 21,650.98, while the Shanghai Composite rose 0.5% to 3,240.28.
In a bit of positive news, data from the Japan National Tourism Organization showed that tourism and other kinds of travel to Japan from Asia outside China had recovered last month.
New data are showing that as inflation cools, the U.S. economy is slowing, adding to worries about the possibility of a recession. A key Federal Reserve policymaker said interest rates need to go higher than the central bank signaled earlier.
“On the macro front, there remains lingering uncertainties about the outlook for the global economy. A slew of disappointing U.S. data releases and hawkish Fed rhetoric are also adding to the risk-off mood across markets,” said Anderson Alves, trader at ActivTrades.
The S&P 500 fell 1.6% on Wednesday, while the Dow industrials lost 1.8%. The Nasdaq composite slid 1.2%, ending a seven-day winning streak. The losses are a reversal for the market, which kicked off the year with a two-week rally.
The Russell 2000 index fell 1.6%.
The government reported Americans cut back on their spending at retailers more than anticipated last month, the second straight decline. Separately, the Federal Reserve said U.S. industrial production, which covers manufacturing, mining and utilities, fell in December much more than economists had expected.
The U.S. government also reported more encouraging inflation data. Wholesale prices rose 6.2% in December from a year earlier, a sixth straight slowdown for the measure of prices before they are passed along to consumers.
Investors have been hoping that easing inflation and a slowdown in economic growth might influence the Federal Reserve’s position on interest rates. The central bank aggressively raised rates throughout 2022 in an effort to cool hot inflation.
The broader economic picture is still not clear enough to see whether the Fed’s fight against inflation is working well enough to avoid a recession. Several major banks have forecast at least a mild recession at some point in 2023.
In energy trading Thursday, U.S. benchmark crude fell 97 cents to $78.51 a barrel. It fell 70 cents to $79.48 per barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude, the international pricing standard, lost 93 cents to $84.05 a barrel.
In currency trading, the U.S. dollar declined to 128.12 Japanese yen from 128.87 yen. The euro cost $1.0804, up from $1.0796.
Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama
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