US stocks rise but Europe wavers as inflation fears recede

·3-min read
Optimism about the broader global economic recovery remains shackled by fears that an inflationary spike could force central banks to rein in monetary policy earlier than flagged

US stocks rose at the open on Thursday, as the world's top economy recorded the lowest number of new unemployment filings since the coronavirus pandemic began, outshining mixed European and Asian markets.

Wall Street was up in morning trade, with Charles Schwab analysts pointing to "mostly upbeat economic data" including the lower jobless claims, better-than-expected durable goods orders and strong earnings for electronics retailer Best Buy and chipmaker Nvidia.

Nevertheless, rising yields on US government debt show that "global markets continue to grapple with persisting inflation concerns and optimism of economic recoveries", Schwab added.

European stocks were less jubilant, with London and Frankfurt down.

But Paris closed higher, driven by planemaker Airbus' confident predictions of ramping up production to meet increased demand in the years ahead.

The European firm revealed it will produce more single-aisle aircraft in 2023 than before the coronavirus crisis, stoking hopes of recovery in pandemic-hit aviation sector.

Airbus stock gained more than nine percent to trade at almost 107 euros ($130.50).

"France's CAC-40 index looks to be getting a lift from Airbus' aggressive plans for jetliner production amid hopes for a wider recovery in air travel in the wake of the pandemic," AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould told AFP.

"That is also giving a lift to aerospace suppliers Safran and Thales."

- Inflation fears -

However, optimism about the broader global economic recovery remains hobbled by fears that an inflationary spike could force central banks to rein in monetary policy earlier than flagged.

The global vaccines rollout, the reopening of economies, trillions of dollars in stimulus and central bank largesse have combined to fuel a rally in world equities since their pandemic-induced collapse at the start of last year.

And while that enormous splurge appears to have paid off, with lives slowly returning to a semblance of normal and businesses back up and running, traders have in recent months grown increasingly worried about the impact on prices.

The Federal Reserve said any inflation spike will be temporary and ultra-easy monetary policy will be kept in place until the recovery is well on track.

For now, "inflation worries have receded (and) the Federal Reserve seems to have calmed fears about leaving policy unchanged," IG analyst Chris Beauchamp told AFP.

"So, while they won't do anything concrete, markets seem reassured that they will at least monitor the situation."

Separately, China said top trade officials had held "candid, pragmatic" talks with their US counterparts for the first time since Joe Biden became president, as Washington scrutinises whether Beijing is holding up its end of a $200-billion trade pact signed last year.

- Key figures around 1600 GMT -

New York - Dow: UP 0.4 percent at 34,564.24 points

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.1 percent at 7,019.67 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.7 percent at 6,435.71 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.3 percent at 15,406.73 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.2 percent at 4,039.21

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.3 percent at 28,549.01 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 0.2 percent at 29,113.20 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.4 percent at 3,608.85 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.2191 from $1.2192 at 2100 GMT

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.4176 from $1.4119

Euro/pound: DOWN at 86.00 from 86.35 pence

Dollar/yen: UP at 109.87 from 109.15 yen

Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.25 percent at $69.12 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.4 percent at $66.58 per barrel


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