World Shares Mostly Higher After Wobbly Gains on Wall St

(AP) -- World shares were mostly higher on Thursday after a wobbly day of trading yielded modest gains on Wall Street.

Germany's DAX added 0.4% to 13,075.05 while the CAC 40 in Paris edged 0.1% higher to 6.230.03. Britain's FTSE 100 climbed 0.6% to 7,320.71. The futures for the S&P 500 and the Dow industrials were up 0.3%.

A report on inflation at the wholesale level released Wednesday showed that prices are still rising rapidly, with pressures building underneath the surface, even if overall inflation slowed. It echoed a report on inflation at the consumer level Tuesday, which raised expectations for interest-rate hikes and triggered a rout for markets.

Investors worry rate hikes by the Federal Reserve to cool surging prices could go too far in slowing the U.S. economy and send it into a recession. The Fed is trying to avoid that outcome, but the latest inflation reports suggest that is becoming a more difficult task.

But markets appeared to have settled after Tuesday's sell-off.

In Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index gained 0.2% to 27,875.91. Japan reported a record trade deficit for the month of August, driven by high costs for imports of energy and other commodities and a weak yen.

But analysts said they expect a rebalancing in coming months.

"Motor vehicle production should continue to normalize as supply chain disruptions ease, while commodity price growth has eased even further," Darren Tay of Capital Economics said in a commentary.

The Shanghai Composite index lost 1.2% to 3,199.92, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.4% to 18,930.38.

China's central bank left its benchmark lending rate unchanged. While other major economies are raising rates to cool inflation, the world's second-largest economy has been slowing and price increases have been moderate.

The Kospi in Seoul shed 0.4% to 2,401.83, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.2% to 6,842.90.

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 added 0.3%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average inched 0.1% higher. The Nasdaq gained 0.7% and the Russell 2000 picked up 0.4%.

Traders now see a one-in-four chance the Fed may hike its benchmark rate by a full percentage point next week, quadruple the usual move, according to the CME Group.

The central bank has already raised its benchmark interest rate four times this year, with the last two increases by three-quarters of a percentage point.

The aggressive action on interest rates is designed to try to cool the hottest inflation in four decades. Tuesday's report on high prices jolted markets with signs that inflation is entering a more stubborn phase that could require an already resolute Fed to do more.

The broader U.S. economy has been slowing, but consumers have remained resilient and the job market remains strong. Wall Street will get another update on inflation's latest impact on spending when the government releases its retail sales report for August on Thursday.

In the U.S., businesses and government officials are bracing for the possibility of a nationwide rail strike at the end of this week that could paralyze an already discombobulated supply chain.

The railroads have already started to curtail shipments of hazardous materials and have announced plans to stop hauling refrigerated products ahead of Friday's strike deadline. Businesses that rely on Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific, BNSF, CSX, Kansas City Southern and other railroads to deliver their raw materials and finished products were planning for the worst.

Biden administration officials are scrambling to develop a plan to keep goods moving if the railroads shut down. The White House is also pressuring the two sides to settle their differences, and a growing number of business groups are lobbying Congress to be prepared to intervene and block a strike if they can't reach an agreement.

In other trading Thursday, U.S. benchmark crude oil gained 54 cents to $89.02 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It jumped $1.17 on Wednesday to $88.48 per barrel.

Brent crude, the pricing basis for international trading, picked up 50 cents to $94.60 per barrel.

The dollar rose to 143.56 Japanese yen from 143.16 yen late Wednesday. The euro was trading at 99.81 cents, up from 99.77 cents.