Global stocks follow Wall St lower before US inflation data

Global stock markets are lower ahead of U.S. inflation data that might influence a Federal Reserve decision on when to roll back economic stimulus

London and Frankfurt opened lower. Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong retreated.

Fed officials, due to meet next week, have said plans to wind down bond purchases and other stimulus that is boosting stock prices might be accelerated if necessary to cool inflation that hit a 30-year high in October.

Traders were “potentially taking some risks off the table” while they wait for November consumer price data, said Yeap Jun Rong of IG in a report.

In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London lost 0.3% to 7,302.55 and Frankfurt’s DAX shed 0.4% to 15,576.18. The CAC 40 in Paris declined 0.6% to 6,969.04.

On Wall Street, the future for the benchmark S&P 500 was 0.1% higher. That for the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up less than 0.1%.

On Thursday, the S&P 500 fell 0.7% and the Nasdaq composite lost 1.7%. The Dow slipped less than 1 point.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index retreated 0.2% to 3,666.35 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo fell 1% to 28,437.77. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong declined 1.1% to 23,995.72.

The Kospi in Seoul gave up 0.6% to 3,010.23 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 was 0.4% lower at 7,353.50.

India’s Sensex lost 0.4% to 58,556.36. New Zealand and Jakarta gained while Singapore declined.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 had gained 3.6% this week after the chief White House medical adviser said the omicron variant might not be as dangerous as the earlier delta strain. That eased fears of more restrictions on travel and business.

Technology stocks and a mix of retailers and other companies that rely on direct consumer spending weighed the most on the S&P 500. Chipmaker Nvidia fell 3.4%, while Tesla slid 6.1% for the biggest drop in the index.

Travel-related companies slipped. Carnival Cruise Line fell 1.7% and United Airlines fell 1.8%.

Health-related stocks rose. Pfizer, which is touting the potential benefits of a vaccine booster against the omicron variant, rose 1.3%.

The Labor Department reported that the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits plunged last week to the lowest level in 52 years.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude gained 6 cents to $71.00 per per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.42 on Thursday to $70.94. Brent crude, the price basis for international oils, sank 7 cents to $74.35 per barrel in London. It lost $1.40 the previous session to $74.42.

The dollar gained to 113.58 yen from Thursday’s 113.48 yen. The euro gained to $1.1295 from $1.1289.

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