Shares advanced in Europe and Asia on Friday after Wall Street benchmarks managed to close mostly higher.
The latest round of mostly solid corporate earnings is winding down after helping markets rise for weeks, reaching a series of records. However, inflation concerns are rattling investors.
Germany’s DAX gained 0.1 percent to 16,108.70, while the CAC 40 in Paris advanced 0.8 percent to 7,088.29. In London, the FTSE 100 shed 0.3 percent to 7,365.97. The future for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 both were trading 0.1 percent higher.
In China, a major Communist Party meeting ended this week, as expected, with a resolution setting the stage for leader Xi Jinping to remain top leader for life.
Although the Chinese economy has been slowing after bouncing back from a pandemic downturn, the record $139.1 billion spent by shoppers during the country’s annual Nov. 11 Singles’ Day shopping extravaganza suggested potential for resilient retail demand.
Reports that regulators were considering easing curbs on borrowing in the property sector that have fueled fears of possible defaults and depressed sale have soothed worries over financial troubles for some of the country’s biggest developers.
Regulators want to allow more flexible financing so companies can sell assets and pay down debt, according to Chinese news reports. The government has yet to announce any change in the curbs imposed as part of efforts to reduce debt that Chinese leaders worry is dangerously high.
Official data also showed a rebound in mortgage lending in October, suggesting the Chinese central bank wants to ensure adequate financing for housing purchases, which is considered relatively safe, the business news magazine Caxin said, citing research by Citic Securities.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 0.3 percent to 25,327.97, while the Shanghai Composite index edged 0.2 percent higher to 3,539.10.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 jumped 1.1 percent to 29,609.97, while the Kospi in South Korea added 1.5 percent to 2,968.80. In Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.8 percent to 7,443.00.
The benchmark S&P 500 is on track for its first weekly loss in six weeks. On Thursday, it rose 0.1 percent and the Dow industrials fell 0.4 percent. The Nasdaq rose 0.5 percent, to 15,704.28.
Smaller-company stocks outpaced the broader market in a sign that investors were confident about economic growth. The Russell 2000 rose 0.8 percent.
Inflation concerns have pushed bond yields broadly higher.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury stood at 1.57 percent early Friday, up from 1.55 percent late Wednesday. Bond markets were closed Thursday for Veterans Day.
Companies have been warning that they are being squeezed by higher raw materials costs and supply chain problems. Consumers are already facing higher costs for essential items such as food, rent, autos, and heating oil. Analysts worry they may cut spending on discretionary items to focus on essentials, which could then crimp the broader economic recovery.
Recent data paint “a picture of an economy running hot and with widespread price pressures,” Craig Erlam of Oanda said in a report.
Higher inflation raises expectations that the Federal Reserve and other central banks will raise short-term interest rates deployed during the pandemic to encourage lending and spending. The Fed already has begun to pare back bond purchases it makes to keep longer-term rates low.
“The Fed may ultimately prove to be correct in its judgement that pressures will ease naturally over time as they’re broadly driven by temporary factors,” said Erlam of Oanda. “But how long can they afford to stand by and watch inflation dramatically overshoot their target? Are they really that confident in their assessment? The pressure is intensifying.”
In other trading, benchmark U.S. crude oil lost 61 cents to $80.98 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 25 cents to $81.59 per barrel on Thursday.
Brent crude, the basis for international pricing, gave up 63 cents to $82.24 per barrel.
The dollar slipped to 114.04 Japanese yen from 114.07 yen. The euro weakened to $1.1447 from $1.1451.
By Elaine Kurtenbach