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Stocks rise on upbeat data, investors await Fed speech

By on August 23, 2016

FILE - In this Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, file photo, the American flag flies above the Wall Street entrance to the New York Stock Exchange. Stocks were moving mostly lower in early trading Monday, Aug. 22, 2016, as investors looked ahead to the Fed’s meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyo., for clues on timing for possible interest rate hikes. A drop in oil prices pulled energy companies lower, along with the broader market. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

The American flag flies above the Wall Street entrance to the New York Stock Exchange. (AP / Richard Drew, File)

HONG KONG – European stock markets rose on solid economic data Tuesday while investors in Asia largely stayed on the sidelines ahead of a widely anticipated speech by the Fed chief.

KEEPING SCORE: France’s CAC 40 rose 0.7% to 4,419 while Germany’s DAX climbed 0.7 percent to 10,570. Britain’s FTSE 100 added 0.5% to 6,864. U.S. stocks were poised to open higher, with both Dow and S&P 500 futures up 0.2%.

EUROZONE REPORT: A survey of businesses across the 19-country eurozone found activity in August expanded at a steady but subdued pace, indicating companies were not overly worried about Britain’s decision to leave the European Union. The IHS Markit survey of purchasing managers at services and manufacturing companies showed business activity grew at a seven-month high, helping buoy European investor sentiment.

SUMMER LULL: Global markets were otherwise subdued as trading volumes were thin amid the summer holidays. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is due to speak Friday at an annual conference of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The Fed is not expected to raise interest rates at its September meeting but Yellen’s comments will be dissected for clues on the likelihood and timing of such a hike.

QUOTABLE QUOTE: “Markets continue to trade eerily quietly in the low-volume low-volatility dog days of the Northern hemisphere summer,” said Angus Nicholson if IG Markets in Melbourne. “The markets seem to be already discounting the possibility that Yellen may look to talk up a September rate hike.”

ASIA’S DAY: The benchmark Nikkei 225 index in Japan slipped 0.6% to close at 16,497.36 while South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.4% to 2,049.93. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng closed practically unchanged at 22,998.93 and the Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China edged up 0.2% to 3,089.71. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.7% to 5,553.80. Benchmarks in Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and New Zealand rose. Those in Indonesia and the Philippines fell.

ENERGY: Oil prices extended losses. U.S. benchmark crude dropped $1.71 to $46.81 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost $1.70 on Monday. Brent crude, used to price oil internationally, dropped 45 cents to $48.71 a barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 100.13 yen from 100.34 yen in late trading Monday. The euro strengthened to $1.1341 from $1.1319.

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