Global shares fall, eyes on inflation, earnings, growth

TOKYO (AP): Global shares were mostly lower on Friday after Wall Street retreated for a second day as market watchers considered earnings reports and various indicators about whether inflation is waning in the U.S. and elsewhere.

France’s CAC 40 lost 0.3% in early trading to 7,169.30, while Germany’s DAX shed 0.4% to 15,455.07. Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.2% to 7,893.92. The future for the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up less than 0.1% to 33,760.00. The S&P 500 future gained 0.1% to 33,769.00.

China reported that its consumer inflation rate ticked up last month as demand revived due to the lifting of pandemic restrictions and travel and spending connected with the Lunar New Year, the country’s biggest holiday.

Producer prices fell 0.8% in January after a 0.7% decline the month before. Consumer price inflation rose to 2.1% from a 1.8% climb in December.

“While most agree the overall economic growth will recover in China this year, there appears to be a lack of conviction on the magnitude of that rebound,” Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI Asset Management, said in a report.

 “But we are at a fork in the road right now regarding whether China will follow a Western reopening game plan or a more Asia-styled cautious reopening approach.”

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.3% to finish at 27,670.98. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.8% to 7,433.70. South Korea’s Kospi declined 0.5% to 2,469.73. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 2.0% to 21,190.42, while the Shanghai Composite was down 0.3% at 3,260.67. Shares in Mumbai and Taiwan also declined.

Next week will bring the release of U.S. and British inflation updates, as well as U.S. retail sales and industrial production data. On Tuesday, Japan will report its economic growth figures for the final quarter of 2022.

On Thursday, the S&P 500 fell 0.9% while the Dow industrials lost 0.7%. The Nasdaq composite sank 1%.

“Now that markets have absorbed hawkish reactions by central bankers after the latest rate announcement and data releases, the focus will shift back to data,” Francesco Pesole, a strategist at ING, said in a report.

Global stocks have been flipping from gains to losses and back again amid uncertainty about where interest rates and inflation are heading. High rates can drive down inflation but also raise the risk of a recession and hurt investment prices.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude added $1.88 to $79.94 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, rose $2.09 to $86.59 a barrel.

In currencies, the U.S. dollar fell to 130.40 Japanese yen from 131.44 yen. The euro cost $1.0742, up from $1.0739.