Global stocks steady, dollar rises ahead of US GDP data

TOKYO – Global stock markets were steady and the dollar made further gains Friday ahead of a report on U.S. economic growth in July-September.

KEEPING SCORE: Germany’s DAX edged down 0.3 per cent to 10,687 while Britain’s FTSE 100 was flat at 6,986. France’s CAC 40 rose 0.3 per cent to 4,545. U.S. shares were set to drift slightly higher, with Dow and S&P 500 futures both up 0.2 per cent.

U.S. FOCUS: Expectations that strong U.S. economic growth in July-September will reinforce pressure toward a rate hike by the Federal Reserve have pushed the dollar higher. Quarterly growth figures are due out Friday, with forecasts ranging from 1.3 per cent to 3.6 per cent in annualized terms.

THE QUOTE: “The U.S. dollar has made modest strides higher as traders now focus on the U.S. Q3 GDP report,” said Chris Weston of IG. Given high expectations for strong growth, he said, “the risk of disappointment seems elevated.”

JAPAN DATA: Japan reported weaker inflation in September, though consumer spending showed signs of recovery. Core-core inflation excluding volatile food and energy prices fell to a three-year low of 0.2 per cent. The mixed signals come as the central bank prepares for a policy meeting next week where some analysts expect the benchmark interest rate to be cut from the current minus 0.1 per cent.

ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 0.6 per cent to 17,446.41 but the Shanghai Composite index fell 0.3 per cent to 3,104.27. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 dipped 0.2 per cent to 5,283.80, while South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.2 per cent to 2,019.42. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.8 per cent at 22,952.80. India’s Sensex gained 0.2 per cent to 27,975.11 and shares in Taiwan rose, while Southeast Asian markets were mixed.

ENERGY: U.S. benchmark crude fell 25 cents to $49.47 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 54 cents on Thursday. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 8 cents to $50.39 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 105.31 yen from 104.42 yen late Thursday in Asia. The euro edged higher, to $1.0917 from $1.0903. The dollar’s official “parity rate” on Friday rose to 6.7858 yuan, putting it at a fresh six-year high against the Chinese currency.


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