Global stocks mixed after Wall St falls on rate hike worries

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Beijing:  Global shares were mixed Monday after Wall Street fell on worries the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates as soon as March.

Frankfurt and Shanghai advanced. Wall Street futures were higher. Seoul declined while London was little-changed. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday.

Investors were rattled last week after notes from the latest Fed meeting showed officials thought the US job market is healthy enough to no longer need ultra-low interest rates and other stimulus.

That was reinforced by US employment numbers Friday that showed stronger-than-expected wages, though with only about half as much hiring as forecast.

The prospect of earlier rate hikes “suggests that markets could continue to be roiled by volatility”, Tan Boon Heng of Mizuho Bank said in a report.

In early trading, the DAX in Frankfurt gained 0.1% to 15,967.95 while the FTSE 100 in London was little-changed at 7,486.65. The CAC 40 in Paris also was flat, at 7,220.20.

On Wall Street, futures for the benchmark S&P 500 index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up less than 0.1%.

On Friday, the S&P 500 index fell 0.4% and the Dow slipped less than 0.1%. The Nasdaq composite slid 1%.

In Asia on Monday, the Shanghai Composite Index advanced 0.4% to 3,593.52 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 1.1% to 23,746.54.

The Kospi in Seoul fell 1% to 2,926.72 and Sydney’s S&P ASX 200 lost 0.1% to 7,447.10.

India’s Sensex rose 0.9% to 60,256.15. New Zealand and Jakarta declined. Bangkok and Singapore advanced.

Investors were cautious after Fed officials said in December that plans to roll back ultra-low rates and other economic stimulus that has boosted share prices might be accelerated to cool US inflation now at a four-decade high.

Investors are pricing a better than 79% probability that the Fed will raise short-term rates in March. A month ago, they saw less than 39% of a chance of that, according to CME Group.

Record-low interest rates have helped to boost stock prices despite bouts of unease about the coronavirus pandemic.

The Fed already has slowed bond purchases that were pumping money into the financial system to push down commercial lending rates. Notes from its December meeting indicated Fed officials might to cut off such purchases more quickly than previously planned.

In energy markets, benchmark US crude rose 12 cents to $79.02 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 56 cents on Friday to $78.90. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 16 cents to $81.91 per barrel in London. It lost 24 cents the previous session to $81.75.

The dollar gained to 115.74 yen from Friday’s 115.56 yen. The euro declined to $1.1325 from $1.1362.

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