World Economy

World Stocks Drift

World Stocks DriftWorld Stocks Drift

World stock markets drifted Friday as investors increasingly factored in a Fed rate hike soon, based on the brightening US corporate and economic outlook.

European shares were slightly higher in early trading, with France’s CAC 40 edging up less than 0.1% to 4,541.82 and Germany’s DAX creeping 0.1% higher to 10,708.34. Britain’s FTSE 100 also ticked 0.1% higher to 7,030.78. US stocks were poised to open lower, with Dow futures slipping 0.2% to 18,069.00 and broader S&P 500 futures dipping 0.2% to 2,132.10, AP reported.

Investors are starting to factor in a higher chance of the Fed raising interest rates from the ultralow levels that have fueled a multiyear stock boom, given the latest corporate and economic data. Most US companies have posted quarterly earnings that have beaten analysts’ expectations.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.3% to end at 17,184.59 and South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.4% to 2,033.00. The Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China edged up 0.2% to 3,090.94 while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.2% to 5,430.30. Benchmarks in Southeast Asia were mixed. Hong Kong’s stock market was closed due to a typhoon.

Meanwhile, the dollar slipped to 103.82 yen from 104.08 on Thursday. The euro weakened to $1.088 from $1.0927. The official exchange rate for the Chinese currency yuan fell to a six-year low against the dollar of 6.755 yuan, as investors bet that an eventual interest rate hike in the US will boost the dollar.

Oil prices stabilized. Benchmark US crude gained 8 cents to $50.72 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.17, or 2.3%, to close at $50.43 a barrel on Thursday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 10 cents to $51.48 a barrel in London.


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