LONDON: European stock markets ran out of steam Thursday as investors digested another hefty Federal Reserve interest rate hike and awaited vital US economic growth data and key results from big-hitters Amazon and Apple.
Frankfurt, London and Paris stocks rose at the open amid a flood of company earnings, but gains petered out as the morning progressed.
Europe’s energy sector was in particular focus with Britain’s Shell and France’s TotalEnergies posting bumper second-quarter profits on elevated oil and gas prices.
Asian indices mostly climbed following a surge on Wall Street, fuelled by hopes that the US central bank could slow its pace of inflation-fighting interest rate hikes.
All eyes are now on the release of second-quarter growth data and the latest earnings in the United States.
The dollar meanwhile struggled to bounce back from a sell-off – sitting at a three-week low against the yen – that came in response to comments by Fed chief Jerome Powell suggesting its next super-sized increase could be its last.
However, analysts cautioned that the initial joy, which sent New York’s three main indexes soaring, could be short-lived as the global economy continued to face several headwinds and inflation would likely not come down quickly.
As expected, the Fed lifted borrowing costs 75 basis points to a range of 2.25 to 2.5 percent, close to the neutral level it considers neither stimulating nor slowing economic growth.
Forecasts have rates going as high as 3.8 percent in 2023, as the bank tries to control runaway inflation.
There is a growing concern that the sharp rise in rates is bearing down on the world’s top economy and could send it into recession.
In his post-meeting comments, however, Powell said he did not consider that was the case, because “there are too many areas of the economy that are performing too well”. He did note that growth was slowing.
On Wall Street, the Dow and S&P rallied and the Nasdaq soared more than four percent – its best one-day rise since late 2020 – as tech firms caught a wave of optimism.
Asia followed suit, though with more muted gains, although Hong Kong dipped as the city’s de facto central bank followed the Fed in lifting rates owing to its currency peg.
Oil prices rallied as data showed a big drop in US stockpiles, while Powell’s comments on the economy eased recession concerns and the weaker dollar made the commodity cheaper for buyers holding stronger currencies.
Key figures at around 1100 GMT
London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.1 percent at 7,339.10 points
Frankfurt - DAX: UP 0.1 percent at 13,173.01
Paris - CAC 40: FLAT at 6,258.89
EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.2 percent at 3,613.33
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.4 percent at 27,815.48 (close)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 0.2 percent at 20,622.68 (close)
Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.2 percent at 3,282.58 (close)
New York - Dow: UP 1.4 percent at 32,197.59 (close)
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0203 from $1.0200 Wednesday
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2168 from $1.2158
Euro/pound: DOWN at 83.84 pence from 83.89 pence
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 135.35 yen from 136.57 yen
Brent North Sea crude: UP 1.4 percent at $108.14 per barrel
West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.9 percent at $99.11 per barrel