Global Stocks Mixed Ahead of Expected US Rate Hike

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
The Associated Press
July 26, 2022 Updated: July 26, 2022

BEIJING—Global stock markets were mixed Tuesday as investors braced for another sharp interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve to cool inflation.

London and Shanghai advanced while Tokyo and Frankfurt declined. Oil rose nearly $2 per barrel.

Wall Street futures were lower after the benchmark S&P 500 index gained 0.1 percent on Monday.

This week’s Fed meeting is expected to announce a rate hike of up to three-quarters of a percentage point, triple the usual margin. That would put the Fed’s benchmark rate in a range of 2.25 percent to 2.5 percent, the highest since 2018 before the coronavirus pandemic.

Optimists hope for a “Fed dial back,” but mixed reactions suggest sentiments are conflicted, said Tan Boon Heng of Mizuho Bank in a report.

In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London advanced 0.7 percent to 7,348.61 while the DAX in Frankfurt lost 0.5 percent to 13,144.82. The CAC 40 in Paris shed 0.1 percent to 6,232.77.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 future was off 0.3 percent, and that for the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.4 percent.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.8 percent to 3,277.44 while the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo shed 0.2 percent to 27,655.21.

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 1.7 percent to 20,905.88 after Alibaba Group, the world’s biggest e-commerce company, announced plans to change the status of its Hong Kong-traded shares to make them more accessible to mainland Chinese buyers.

Alibaba went public in New York in September 2014 and completed a secondary listing in Hong Kong in November 2019. The proposed change would upgrade Alibaba’s Hong Kong status to a primary listing along with New York, making the shares eligible for purchase through mainland brokerages.

The Kospi in Seoul added 0.4 percent to 2,412.96 after data showed the South Korean economy grew by a stronger-than-expected 0.7 percent over the previous quarter in the three months ending in June.

Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 was 0.3 percent higher at 6,807.30.

India’s Sensex lost 0.7 percent at 55,384.00. New Zealand and Bangkok retreated while Singapore and Jakarta gained.

Investors worry aggressive rate hikes by the Fed to contain inflation that is at four-decade highs and similar action by central banks in Europe and Asia might derail global economic growth.

U.S. inflation has accelerated to 9.1 percent, its highest since 1981.

The U.S. economy is slowing, but healthy hiring shows it isn’t in recession, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Sunday. Fed officials who publicly support a rate hike also cite a strong job market as evidence the economy can stand higher borrowing costs.

On Wall Street, the Dow gained 0.3 percent while the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.4 percent.

On Monday, Walmart shares fell nearly 10 percent in after-hours trading after the retail giant lowered its profit outlook for the second quarter and full year. The company said shoppers are cutting back on discretionary items, particularly clothing, that carry higher profit margins.

On Thursday, the Commerce Department is due to release U.S. economic growth estimate for the three months ending in June. Some forecasters expect a second quarter of contraction after output shrank 1.6 percent in the three months ending in March.

Also this week, tech heavyweights Apple, Meta, Microsoft, and Amazon are due to report results. So are Coca-Cola and McDonald’s.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose $1.79 to $98.48 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained $2 to $96.70 on Monday. Brent crude, the price basis for international trading, advanced $1.79 to $101.98 per barrel in London. It added $1.95 from the previous session to $105.15.

The dollar declined to 136.51 yen from Monday’s 136.72. The euro held steady at $1.0221.

By Joe Mcdonald