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Stocks struggle as traders jostle ahead of US inflation data
Hong Kong fell as investors looked at a nuclear plant across the border in China following reports of a potential leak.

Markets remained in a holding position with light trading and minor dips a sign that traders’ eyes were well and truly on Thursday’s numbers due out of Washington

 

Stock markets steadied on Wednesday on the eve of keenly-awaited US inflation data as traders looked for clues on the timing of higher interest rates which could hinder economic recovery.

Global equities have been in a holding position this month as traders try to determine the outlook for central banks’ policies amid concerns that a spike in prices as economies emerge from lockdowns could raise borrowing costs.

Price inflation of goods leaving Chinese factories rose at the highest rate in more than a decade last month, official data showed Wednesday, as the world’s second-largest economy worked to contain a surge in commodity prices. All eyes were now on US inflation figures due on Thursday.

Also on AF: Inflation fears take hold as China’s post-pandemic surge heats prices

“The tight trading ranges seen so far this month reflect the cautious mood in the market ahead of the inflation numbers,” said Fiona Cincotta of City Index.

“Whilst the Fed reassures that this spike in inflation is temporary, policy makers will need to be out in their droves to calm the market.”

“It’s an opportune time for a thorough review given the improved state of both the economy and the vaccination rollout,” said National Australia Bank analyst David de Garis.

POLICY CAUTION

“While there’s no denying the better run of data… prudence around the pandemic, including from variants, also argues for a degree of policy caution.”

Hopes for another bump in demand were given a boost after the United States eased a travel warning for dozens of countries including European nations and Japan as vaccinations allow people to return to a semblance of normality.

Markets were looking ahead also to the start on Friday of a summit of the G7 wealthy nations. The gathering in England will be Joe Biden’s first foreign trip of his US presidency.

 

MARKETS

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.4% at 28,860.80 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng Index: DOWN 0.1% at 28,742.63 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.3% at 3,591.40 (close)

New York – Dow: DOWN 0.1% at 34,599.82 (close)

 

  • Reporting by AFP

 

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