Global Stocks Gain as Traders Watch Fed Speech

BEIJING (AP) -- Global stock markets were higher Friday ahead of a speech by the Federal Reserve chair that investors hoped would shed light on plans for more interest rate hikes.

London and Frankfurt opened higher. Tokyo and Hong Kong advanced while Shanghai declined. Oil prices rose.

Investors focused on Jerome Powell's speech at the Fed's annual Jackson Hole meeting for signs of when the U.S. central bank, trying to cool inflation that is running at multi-decade highs, might raise rates again and by how much.

Traders worry the Fed's four rate hikes this year, plus increases by central banks in Europe and Asia, might derail global growth. Some expect the Fed to reverse course and start cutting rates in 2023 due to signs the U.S. economy might be cooling.

"The Fed could start thinking about a pause in rate hikes, potentially for the end of the year," Thomas Costerg of Pictet said in a report. "However, it is still too early to talk about rate cuts."

In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London rose 0.3% to 7,500.73 and the DAX in Frankfurt gained less than 0.1% to 13,280.26. The CAC 40 in Paris added less than 0.1% to 6,383.93.

On Wall Street, the future for the benchmark S&P 500 index was up 0.3%. That for the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.2%.

On Thursday, the S&P 500 rose 1.4% while the Dow gained 1%. The Nasdaq composite climbed 1.7%.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.3% to 3,236.22 while the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo rose 0.6% to 28,641.38. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 1% to 20,170.04.

The Kospi in Seoul added 0.2% to 2,481.03 and Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 advanced 0.8% to 7,104.10.

India's Sensex advanced 0.4% to 58,985.67. New Zealand and Jakarta declined while Singapore and Bangkok rose.

Global markets have swung between optimism about stronger corporate profits and unease about possible recession risks.

On Thursday, the government reported the U.S. economy didn't contract by as much as previously thought during the spring. It shrank 0.6% on an annualized basis, the government said, less than the previous 0.9% estimate.

The Fed's Jackson Hole meeting in Wyoming, which attracts economists from around the world, has been the setting for market-defining announcements in the past.

Investors are hoping for clarity from Powell after Fed officials said they still supported rate hikes despite hopes inflation might be peaking.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude gained 79 cents to $93.31 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $2.37 on Thursday to $92.52. Brent crude, the price basis for international trading, advanced 72 cents to $99.18 per barrel in London. It lost $1.88 the previous session to $99.34.

The dollar gained to 136.90 yen from Thursday's 136.46 yen. The euro edged up to 99.87 cents from 99.69 cents.