Global stock markets mixed ahead of US jobs data

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BEIJING — Global stock markets and Wall Street futures were mixed on Friday ahead of an update on the U.S. jobs market as the Federal Reserve ponders whether further rate hikes are needed to cool the surge in inflation.

London, Paris and Frankfurt were down while Shanghai and Tokyo were up. Oil prices have fallen.

Investors were eagerly awaiting the monthly U.S. jobs numbers for possible signs of weakness that could prompt the Fed to decide it needs to ease rate hikes to calm inflation. Other data suggests the economy is slowing, which should reduce upward pressure on prices.

“Consensus is looking for labor market easing for July,” Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management said in a report.

In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London fell 0.1% to 7,437.48 and the DAX in Frankfurt was little changed at 13,660.80. The CAC 40 in Paris lost 0.5% to 6,483.56.

On Wall Street, the future of the benchmark S&P 500 slid less than 0.1% while that of the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose less than 0.1%.

On Thursday, the S&P 500 closed 0.1% lower as investors digested corporate earnings reports and awaited jobs data. The Dow lost 0.3% while the Nasdaq composite rose 0.4%.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.2% to 3,227.03 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.1% to 20,201.94.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo gained 0.9% to 28,175.897 after labor incomes in June rose 2.2% year on year, although forecasters warned the strength was unlikely to last. Much of the increase is due to semi-annual bonuses which are paid in June.

Seoul’s Kospi gained 0.7% to 2,490.80 and Sydney’s S&P ASX 200 rose 0.6% to 7,015.60.

India’s Sensex rose 0.1% to 58,381.11 after the Reserve Bank of India raised its benchmark interest rate by half a percentage point to 5.4%. Central bank governor Shaktikanta Das predicts economic growth of 7.2% for the year to March and inflation of 6.7%.

New Zealand and Bangkok fell while Singapore rose.

Jakarta rose 0.4% after Indonesia’s economy grew stronger than expected by 5.4% year-on-year in the last quarter.

Investors fear that rate hikes by the Fed and other central banks in Europe and Asia to rein in inflation that is at multi-decade highs could derail economic growth.

The Fed has raised its benchmark rate twice by 0.75 percentage points this year, three times its usual margin and the biggest increases since the early 1990s.

Fed officials have tried to calm fears that the United States could tip into a recession by pointing to a strong labor market as evidence that the economy can tolerate higher borrowing costs.

But economists fear signs of weakness are beginning to appear in hiring, threatening one of the last redoubts of US economic power. Job postings are down and the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits is up.

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits last week rose by a modest 6,000 from the previous week to 260,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Early applications typically reflect layoffs, but forecasters still see the labor market as one of the strongest sectors in the economy.

Data earlier this week indicated that the number of new U.S. job openings advertised had slipped, but were still near record highs.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude gained 12 cents to $88.66 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell from $2.12 the previous session to $88.54. Brent crude, the price basis for international trade, advanced 14 cents to $94.26 a barrel. It fell from $2.66 the previous session to $94.12.

The dollar gained 133.45 yen from 132.91 yen on Thursday. The euro fell to $1.0230 from $1.0249.

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