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Global equities mostly higher on corporate earnings reports

·3-min read
US government data indicates inflation remained high in the world's largest economy in September (AFP/Angela Weiss)

World stock markets were mostly higher Wednesday, as investors shrugged off concerns about high inflation and focused instead on good corporate earnings reports, traders said.

European stock exchanges ended the day firmly in the black, with prices adding 0.2 percent in London, 0.7 percent in Frankfurt, and 0.7 percent in Paris.

Wall Street indices also generally rose, with the S&P 500 gaining 0.3 percent and the Nasdaq 0.7 percent even as the Dow ended flat, with investors digesting the latest inflation data affirming continuing price increases in the world's largest economy.

The positive sentiment after a string of rocky sessions was aided by good earnings results such as those reported by JPMorgan Chase, which said profits jumped in the third quarter as the economic outlook improved and allowed it to release $2.1 billion set aside for pandemic loan defaults.

Minutes from the Federal Reserve's most recent policy meeting indicated the central bank was leaning towards beginning to end its pandemic stimulus as soon as November, while many participants worry inflation could be worse than expected.

"Uncertainty will persist for some time, but the tapering announcement is coming very soon," Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics said of the minutes.

US Labor Department data showed that inflation remained at a high 5.4 percent in September compared to the same month last year.

Supply chain bottlenecks, surging demand fueled by reopenings and spiking fuel costs have sent prices soaring in recent months, putting pressure on bank chiefs to act to prevent prices from running out of control.

An extended period of higher-than-targeted inflation is ramping up expectations that the Fed will have to lift interest rates after it has finished tapering its massive bond-buying program.

Fed officials last month forecast a rate hike from the current zero level as soon as next year.

Asian indices were mixed as concerns over a global energy crunch jangled nerves.

Tokyo, Sydney, Manila and Taipei edged down, though there were gains in Seoul, Singapore, Mumbai, Jakarta and Wellington. Hong Kong was closed because of a typhoon in the city.

Shanghai rose after better-than-forecast export data and ahead of Thursday's release of China's inflation data.

- Key figures around 2050 GMT -

New York - Dow: FLAT at 34,377.81 (close)

New York - S&P 500: UP 0.3 percent at 4,363.80 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: UP 0.7 percent at 14,571.63 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.2 percent at 7,141.82 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX: UP 0.7 percent at 15,249.38 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.7 percent at 6,597.38 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.7 percent at 4,083.28 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.3 percent at 28,140.28 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.4 percent at 3,561.76 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: Closed because of typhoon

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1595 from $1.1530 at 2100 GMT

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3659 from $1.3588

Euro/pound: UP at 84.88 from 84.86 pence

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 113.25 yen from 113.31 yen

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.1 percent at $83.34 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.1 percent at $80.59 per barrel

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