World Shares Higher Friday 12/09 05:43

World Shares Higher Friday             12/09 05:43

   Shares were higher in Europe and Asia ahead of an update Friday on U.S. 
wholesale prices that will provide insights into how businesses are coping with 
inflation.

   BANGKOK (AP) -- Shares were higher in Europe and Asia ahead of an update 
Friday on U.S. wholesale prices that will provide insights into how businesses 
are coping with inflation.

   Germany's DAX added 0.2% to 14,295.30 while the CAC 40 in Paris was nearly 
unchanged at 6,649.30. Britain's FTSE 100 also was little changed, gaining less 
than 2 points to 7,474.82.

   The future for the S&P 500 was up 0.2% while that for the Dow Jones 
Industrial Average edged 0.1% higher.

   Chinese benchmarks rose Friday on reports the government is planning new 
measures to support the ailing property sector, which has been a severe drag on 
growth over the past several years.

   Property shares got a boost from Sunac China Holdings' announcement that it 
has made "considerable progress" in restructuring $9.1 billion of its $11 
billion in offshore debts. More than a third of the total originally was to 
fall due by the end of the year.

   Trading in Hong Kong of Sunac's shares was suspended as of April 1. But 
other major property developers' stocks jumped. Country Garden Holdings was up 
8.5% and China Vanke's shares jumped 5.6%.

   Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 2.3% to 19,900.87 while the Shanghai Composite 
index added 0.3% to 3,206.95.

   The relaxation of some of the China's "zero-COVID" rules is also raising 
hopes the economy will gain momentum, though experts say it will take months 
for tourism and other business to recover from the disruptions of the pandemic.

   While outside experts had increasingly criticized China's containment 
policy, which sought to isolate every case, as unsustainable, they have also 
warned that the country will now face a challenging first wave, as the loosened 
measures will no doubt fuel an increase of cases.

   "Asian stocks are a bit higher, but full-out exuberance has been tempered by 
rising COVID cases and skepticism of the force of reopening economic tailwind 
that the current level of Asian risk assets implies," Stephen Innes of SPI 
Asset Management said in a commentary.

   Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index gained 1.2% to 27,901.01 and the Kospi in Seoul 
rose 0.8% to 2,389.04. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 picked up 0.5% to 7,213.20.

   On Thursday, the S&P 500 rose 0.8%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite 
closed 1.1% higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.5% and the Russell 
2000 index of small caps added 0.6%.

   Major indexes are all in the red for the week and have been swinging between 
big monthly gains and losses throughout the year. Investors' worries about 
inflation, rising interest rates and recession risks have made for a volatile 
market. That has also left Wall Street focused on data points on the economy, 
especially those regarding inflation.

   Activision Blizzard lost 1.5% after the Federal Trade Commission said it is 
suing to block Microsoft's planned $69 billion takeover of the video game 
company, saying it could suppress competitors to its Xbox game consoles and its 
growing games subscription business. Microsoft rose 1.2%.

   On Thursday, the U.S. reported slightly more Americans filed for jobless 
claims last week, but not as many as economists had forecast. The labor market 
remains one of the strongest pockets of the economy, which has been stifled 
under the weight of stubbornly hot inflation and rising interest rates.

   Apart from the wholesale price update Friday, the University of Michigan 
will release its consumer sentiment survey for December.

   Resilient consumer spending, which is partly tied to strong employment, has 
made the fight against inflation more difficult, raising the risks the Federal 
Reserve will go too far in raising interest rates. At the same time, it has 
been keeping the economy strong enough to avoid recession.

   The Fed will meet next week and is expected to raise its benchmark interest 
rate -- which now sits at 3.75% to 4%, the highest in 15 years -- by a 
half-percentage point.

   ___

   In other trading, U.S. benchmark crude oil gained 94 cents to $72.40 per 
barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It settled 
0.8% lower at $71.46 per barrel on Thursday.

   Brent crude added 87 cents to $77.02 per barrel.

   The U.S. dollar slipped to 136.17 Japanese yen from 136.69 yen. The euro 
rose to $1.0564 from $1.0556.

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