International markets roundup

NEW YORK: Wall Street has surged as investors shrug off stronger-than-expected inflation data and snap up shares of Facebook, Amazon.com and Apple.

The fourth straight day of gains in the S&P 500 saw a return to the "fear of missing out" mentality that accompanied Wall Street's rally in recent months ahead of a slump last week into correction territory.

Facebook jumped 3 per cent while Amazon.com and Apple rose more than 1 per cent. All three fuelled the S&P 500 more than any other shares. They, along with Netflix and Alphabet - collectively called the FAANG stocks - were major contributors to last year's market rally, and some of them have weathered the recent sell-off better than the broader market.

The Labour Department's core Consumer Price Index, which excludes the volatile food and energy components, increased 0.3 per cent in January, while economists polled by Reuters had forecast an increase of 0.2 per cent. However, the year-on-year rise was unchanged at 1.8 per cent.

The data raised the spectre of rising inflation rates and rekindled fears that the Federal Reserve could be forced to be more aggressive with interest rate increases.

But those inflation concerns were tempered by data showing US retail sales fell 0.3 per cent in January, the biggest decline in nearly a year and in sharp contrast to economists' estimates for a 0.2 per cent increase.

In late afternoon trading (0719 AEDT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1.09 per cent at 24,910.04 points, the S&P 500 had gained 1.31 per cent to 2,697.89 and the Nasdaq Composite had added 1.93 per cent to 7,148.83.

LONDON: European shares rose on Wednesday, quickly recovering from losses sparked by stronger-than-expected US inflation data, as solid company and economic updates kept investors confident.

The STOXX 600 index rose 1.1 per cent, having earlier lost as much as 0.3 per cent following the release of figures showing US consumer prices rose more than expected in January, bolstering expectations for faster interest rate hikes.

Data out of Germany earlier in the day showed that Europe's biggest economy was set to power ahead in 2018, while a Thomson Reuters study said fourth-quarter European earnings growth expectations were revised upwards after 15 weeks of downgrades.

The DAX closed 1.17 per cent higher at 12,339.16.

Strong financials and commodities stocks drove the FTSE 100 higher as investors shrugged off a hotly-anticipated data release showing higher than expected US inflation.

Britain's major stock index ended the day up 0.64 per cent, at 7,213.97, while mid-caps rose 0.7 per cent.

The US consumer prices data initially sent stocks sharply down, but they rebounded rapidly from the initial shock. The FTSE 100 covered a 100-point range on the day as stocks swung wildly.

TOKYO: Asian shares were mixed with investor sentiment generally strained ahead of the US inflation report.

MSCI's Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.98 per cent while Japan's Nikkei index closed down 0.43 per cent at 21,154.17.

Hong Kong stocks rebounded sharply, with the benchmark Hang Seng Index posting its biggest one-day percentage rise since May 2016.

The Hang Seng index closed 2.27 per cent higher at 30,515.60. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index rose 2.14 per cent to 12,260.99.

The market will close on Thursday afternoon for the Lunar New Year holiday, and will resume trading on February 20.

China's main Shanghai Composite index gained 0.45 per cent at 3,199.16 points while its blue-chip CSI300 index ended up 0.80 per cent at 3,966.96. Mainland markets are closed from February 15-21 for the holiday.

WELLINGTON: The S/NZX50 Index fell 0.8 per cent, to 8058.8.

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