Portugal Colonial - World stocks shrug off rate, inflation concerns

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World stocks shrug off rate, inflation concerns
World stocks shrug off rate, inflation concerns

World stocks shrug off rate, inflation concerns

Global stock markets mostly held their ground on Tuesday as investors shrugged off concerns of higher interest rates in the face of high inflation.

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In mid-afternoon trading, the main European markets were all in positive territory, taking their lead from gains in Asia earlier, even if, on the other side of the Atlantic, sentiment softened slightly on Wall Street.

The day before, US equities had jumped as Federal Reserve officials sought to play down concerns that the US central bank will embark on an aggressive phase of monetary tightening.

But when trading opened on Tuesday, the Dow eased back into negative territory, while if the tech-heavy NASDAQ was up 1.6 percent.

Stocks have been under pressure as the Federal Reserve has shifted policy and signalled a likely interest rate hike in March. Investors have also been monitoring ongoing tensions in Ukraine and the ebbs and flows of Covid-19.

"Good news is that some Federal Reserve officials are finally out trying to soothe investors' nerves, saying that they still want to avoid unnecessarily disrupting the US economy," said Swissquote analyst, Ipek Ozkardeskaya.

"The S&P 500 (on Wall Street) finished January with a strong two-day rally, but the index is still more than five percent lower than where it kicked off the year, having recorded its worst month since March 2020."

Oil prices dipped again as the world's top crude-producing countries prepare to meet Wednesday to discuss a further increase in output.

- Rate decisions -

On Tuesday, Sydney shares ended in positive territory as the Australian central bank decided against raising interest rates to battle inflation, instead just announcing the end to its bond-buying stimulus from next week.

Traders are now awaiting policy decisions by the Bank of England and European Central Bank due Thursday, the eve of key US jobs data.

The surge on Wall Street on Monday came at the end of a volatile month characterised by speculation over the Fed's plans to get a grip on runaway prices, with fears that it could raise US borrowing costs as many as seven times this year, starting with a 50-basis-point move in March.

Comments from some leading Fed officials at the weekend added to expectations the policy board would go hard and fast, though some were out on Monday trying to play down such a move.

The Nasdaq closed up more than three percent Monday, paring losses for January to nine percent, having at one point been down almost 15 percent during the month.

Business was thin across Asia Tuesday owing to the Chinese New Year break that saw Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Seoul, Taipei, Manila and Jakarta closed.

"Investors should not lose sight of the fact that the economy remains strong, which should limit downside from current levels," said And Solita Marcelli at UBS Global Wealth Management.

- Key figures around 1450 GMT -

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.1 percent at 35,063.78 points

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.9 percent at 7,529.34

Frankfurt - DAX: UP 1.2 percent at 15,663.63

Paris - CAC 40: UP 1.5 percent at 7,102.57

EURO STOXX 50: UP 1.3 percent at 4,229.84

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.3 percent at 27,078.48 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: Closed for a holiday

Shanghai - Composite: Closed for a holiday

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1271 from $1.1235 late Monday

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3511 from $1.3445

Euro/pound: DOWN at 83.43 pence from 83.54 pence

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 114.68 yen from 115.13 yen

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 1.0 percent at $88.36 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 1.0 percent at $87.29 per barrel

L.Carrico--PC