Global shares mixed with eyes on inflation, US economy

Tokyo: Global shares were mixed Thursday, as investors watched for signs of inflation and awaited U.S. economic data expected later in the day.

France’s CAC 40 rose 0.3% in early trading to 6,412.44, while Germany’s DAX fell 0.3% to 15,400.35. Britain’s FTSE 100 fell less than 0.1% to 7,022.75. U.S. shares were set to drift lower with S&P 500 futures down 0.3% at 4,182.38. Dow futures fell nearly 0.1% to 34,248.0.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 shed 0.3% to finish at 28,549.01. South Korea’s Kospi slipped nearly 0.1% to 3,165.51. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was little changed, inching up less than 0.1% to 7,094.90. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.2% to 29,113.20. The Shanghai Composite index edged up 0.4% to 3,608.85.

The Japanese government is expected to extend its state of emergency in some areas including Tokyo past May 31 in an effort to curb COVID-19 cases. Public concern has grown with the Olympics due to begin in Tokyo on July 23. Surveys show a majority of residents want the games canceled or postponed.

There are push-backs all round right now, and they are going to buffet markets, largely because they aren’t all pushing in the same direction, RaboResearch said in a report.

Technology shares were under pressure, though Chinese mobile phone maker Xiaomi rose 3.2% after it confirmed that the U.S. had removed it from a blacklist for Chinese tech companies.

The next key economic update is set for Thursday, when the U.S. Commerce Department releases its latest GDP report for the first quarter. Economists are expecting a huge rebound in 2021 and results from the beginning of the year will give Wall Street a clearer picture moving forward.

The growing economy has also raised inflation concerns, though analysts expect that much of the increase will be tied to economic growth and will be digestible. Concern centers around stronger inflation prompting governments and central banks to roll back economic stimulus and change course on interest rates. Federal Reserve officials have said that they see no need yet to change course.

Markets have been bumpy over the last few days as investors move past a stellar corporate earnings season and await additional clues on economic growth and inflation, which has been rising.

In the U.S., where the vaccine rollout has progressed at a better pace than in Asia, retailers, hotels and cruise lines are poised for growth as more people get back to some semblance of normal.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude slipped 67 cents to 65.54 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 14 cents to 66.21 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 70 cents to 68.17 a barrel.

In currency trading, the U.S. dollar inched up to 109.16 Japanese yen from 109.14 yen. The euro cost 1.2195, up from 1.2192.