Global shares mostly higher ahead of US inflation data

TOKYO (AP) — Global shares were mostly higher Wednesday as investors awaited the release of U.S. inflation data. Trading was winding down in China ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays.

KEEPING SCORE: France’s CAC 40 added 0.6 percent to 5,140.46, while Germany’s DAX rose 0.8 percent to 12,293.65. Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.7 percent at 7,216.32. U.S. shares were set for gains with Dow futures up 0.6 percent at 24,775 and S&P 500 futures 0.5 percent higher at 2,674.70.

U.S. INFLATION: Market players are awaiting the U.S. Labor Department’s monthly report on consumer prices, due later in the day. The report takes on added importance since recent swings in financial markets were touched off by worries that inflation might rise too quickly, prompting the Federal Reserve to accelerate monetary tightening.

THE QUOTE: “It certainly feels like the proverbial calm before the storm and rightly so as there are plenty of reasons to be cautious, but whether it warrants the present sense of foreboding in the markets or not, equity investors seem undeterred by the possibility of higher yields,” Stephen Innes of OANDA said in a commentary.

JAPAN GDP: Japan’s economy grew at a slower than expected 0.5 percent annual pace in the October-December quarter, the eighth straight quarter of expansion. Growth for the entire calendar year was 1.6 percent, up from 0.9 percent in 2016. The preliminary data released Wednesday buttressed economists’ expectations that growth will slow in the coming year.

ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped 0.4 percent to finish at 21,154.17, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.3 percent to 5,841.20. South Korea’s Kospi gained 1.1 percent at 2,421.83. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 2.3 percent to 30,515.60, while the Shanghai Composite index added 0.5 percent to 3,199.16. Markets in Southeast Asia were mixed.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 20 cents to $58.99 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 10 cents to $59.19 a barrel in New York Tuesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 31 cents to $62.40 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 107.31 yen from 107.55 yen. The euro climbed to $1.2364 from $1.2351.

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Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

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