Wall Street moved higher before the opening bell after the European Central Bank made its largest-ever interest rate increase to combat record inflation that is squeezing consumers and pushing the 19 countries that use the euro currency toward recession.
The bank’s 25-member governing council raised its key benchmark by three-quarters of a percentage point Thursday. The ECB joined the U.S. Federal Reserve and other central banks in the wave of rapid rate hikes.
Futures for the Dow Jones industrials and futures for the S&P 500 both rose around 0.1% before U.S. markets opened as investors and economists await more comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell later in the day.
Market focus remains on the highest inflation in decades and the Fed’s attempt to rein it in with high interest rates. The U.S. central bank has already raised rates four times this year and markets expect it to deliver another jumbo-sized increase of three-quarters of a percentage point at its next meeting in two weeks.
The central bank has been clear about its determination to continue raising rates until it feels that inflation is leveling off or cooling. In June, Fed officials projected that the benchmark rate will reach a range of 3.25% to 3.5% by year’s end and roughly a half percentage point more in 2023.
Germany’s DAX slipped nearly 0.7%, while France’s CAC 40 and Britain’s FTSE 100 were both unchanged.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 surged 2.3% to finish at 28,065.28. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 1.8% to 6,848.70. South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.3% to 2,384.28. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 1.0% to 18,854.62, while the Shanghai Composite fell 0.3% to 3,235.59.
Somewhat reassuring to market watchers was Japan’s revised seasonally adjusted real gross domestic product, or GDP, for the second quarter, which was revised upward to an annual rate of 3.5% growth, better than the initial estimate of 2.2%.
Data showed private consumption and business spending are holding up in the world’s third-largest economy, which has managed to grow for three straight quarters. The on-quarter growth for GDP, the sum of the value of a nation’s products and services, was revised upward to 0.9% from 0.5%. The annual numbers show how the economy would have grown if the quarterly rate were to continue for a year.
“Economic conditions in the region will continue to be in focus, with China’s trade balance data yesterday revealing challenges in both external and domestic demand,” said Yeap Jun Rong, market strategist at IG in Singapore. China’s trade weakened in August as high energy prices, inflation and anti-virus measures weighed on global and Chinese consumer demand, and imports of Russian oil and gas surged.
In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude gained 82 cents to $82.76 a barrel. U.S. crude oil prices slid 5.7% Wednesday. Brent crude, the international standard, gained 70 cents to $88.70 a barrel.
In currency trading, the U.S. dollar inched down to 143.70 yen from 143.74 yen. The euro was little changed at $1.00.News Source: WFMZ