World Shares Are Mixed, While Tokyo’s Benchmark Extends Its New Year Rally

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BANGKOK—World shares were mixed on Friday, while Tokyo’s benchmark extended its New Year rally, trading well above 35,000 and at its highest level since 1990.

U.S. futures inched higher and oil prices surged more than $1 a barrel.

Germany’s DAX jumped 1 percent to 16,710.98 and the CAC40 in Paris gained 1.2 percent to 7,474.57. Britain’s FTSE 100 climbed 0.8 percent to 7,635.15. The future for the S&P 500 was up 0.1 percent while that for the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.2 percent.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 gained 1.5 percent to 35,577.11 capping a week of strong gains that have taken it to levels not seen since 1990, when Japan’s asset bubbles were beginning to deflate at the outset of an era of faltering growth.

The yen’s weakness against the U.S. dollar has boosted Japanese exporters like industrial robot maker Fanuc Corp., whose shares rose 2.1 percent on Friday.

Taiwan’s Taiex declined 0.2 percent to 17,512.83 on the eve of presidential and legislative elections that will test the self-governed island’s relations both with Beijing and with Washington.

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China reported that its exports and imports edged higher in December in a sign that its economic recovery remains uneven, though global demand may be reviving as central banks halt their latest round of inflation-fighting interest rate increases.

Consumer prices fell 0.3 percent in December, the third consecutive month of declines and a sign of persisting weakness in demand. The producer price index—which measures prices that factories charge wholesalers—fell 2.7 percent in the 15th straight month that it has fallen.

Some of that growth was fueled by a nearly 64 percent increase in auto exports in 2023, to 4.1 million passenger cars, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers reported Thursday.

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong shed early gains, falling 0.4 percent to 16,244.58. The Shanghai Composite index slipped 0.2 percent to 2,881.98.

The Kospi in South Korea slipped 0.1 percent to 2,537.17, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 also edged 0.1 percent lower, to 7,501.40.

India’s Sensex advanced 1.4 percent and Bangkok’s SET rose 0.4 percent.

On Thursday, Wall Street wobbled after the update on inflation raised questions about when the Federal Reserve could begin the cuts to interest rates that investors crave so much.

The S&P 500 slipped 0.1 percent and the Dow rose less than 0.1 percent. The Nasdaq composite edged up by less than 0.1 percent.

Stocks had been roaring toward record heights on expectations that a cooldown in inflation would convince the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates sharply in 2024, which would boost prices for investments. Thursday morning’s inflation report showed U.S. consumers paid prices that were 3.4 percent higher overall in December than a year earlier. That’s an acceleration from November’s 3.1 percent inflation rate and a touch warmer than economists expected.

But trends underneath the surface may have been a bit more encouraging. After stripping out food and fuel prices, which can shift sharply from month to month, the rise in prices from November into December was close to economists’ expectations.

The inflation data sent Treasury yields on a jagged run in the bond market. After sinking from Wednesday night into Thursday, they jumped immediately after the report’s release but then began yo-yoing. By late afternoon, they were lower, helping stock indexes to recover much of their earlier losses.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury was steady at 3.97 percent early Friday. It’s down from more than 5 percent in October.

Early Friday, a barrel of benchmark U.S. crude was up $1.68 at $73.70, a 2.3 percent jump. It rose 65 cents to $72.02 on Thursday. Brent crude, the international standard, gained $1.63 to $79.02 per barrel.

In currency dealings, the U.S. dollar was at 145.00 Japanese yen, down from 145.28. The euro rose to $1.0977 from $1.0971.

By Elaine Kurtenbach

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