World Shares Skid After Inflation Report Thumps Wall Street

BANGKOK (AP) -- Shares slipped in Europe and Asia on Friday after benchmarks on Wall Street had their biggest drop in four weeks as investors registered disappointment over an inflation reading that came in hotter than expected.

Oil prices and U.S. futures also declined after the S&P 500 fell 1.4% Thursday following news that inflation at the wholesale level slowed by less than economists had forecast. It echoed a report on prices at the consumer level from earlier this week that suggested inflation isn't cooling as quickly and as smoothly as hoped.

Stocks have swung between gains and losses recently on worries that persistently high inflation will push the Federal Reserve to get even more aggressive on interest rates. Higher rates can drive down inflation but also drag on investment prices and raise the risk of a serious recession.

"Continued strength in the inflation data suggests the Fed's work is still not finished, and risks of a longer cycle are rising," Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management said in a report.

Germany's DAX sank 0.9% to 15,386.39 and the CAC 40 in Paris gave up 0.8% to 7,311.13. Britain's FTSE 100 slipped 0.5% to 7,968.31.

The future for the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.5% while that for the S&P 500 shed 0.3%.

In Asian trading, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 fell 0.7% to 27,513.13 and the Kospi in South Korea sank 1% to 2,450.20.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 1.3% to 20,836.08. Losses were amplified by news that a major tech industry dealmaker, Bao Fan, apparently has gone missing.

Shares in one of China's top investment banks, China Renaissance, plunged Friday after the company said in a filing to Hong Kong's stock exchange that it had lost touch with Bao, its founder. Bao's disappearance follows a crackdown on technology companies in the past two years that officials in China said had been wrapped up.

The Shanghai Composite index gave up 0.8% to 3,224.02 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.9% to 7,346.80. Taiwan's benchmark lost 0.5%.

Bangkok's SET index fell 0.7% after the government reported the economy grew at a meager 2.6% annual pace in 2022 and slowed more than expected in the last quarter of the year, to a 1.3% annual expansion, as a rebound in tourism failed to make up for weaker exports. On a quarterly basis GDP fell 1.5% in October-December.

On Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 1.3%, while the Nasdaq composite dropped 1.8%.

Thursday's inflation report showed that prices at the wholesale level were 6% higher last month than a year earlier, slower than December's rate but worse than expected. Perhaps more concerning was that inflation accelerated in January on a month-to-month basis even after stripping out prices for food, energy and other layers.

The inflation report thudded onto Wall Street along with a batch of other data painting a mixed picture of the economy.

Fewer workers applied for jobless benefits last week than expected, suggesting that layoffs remain low across the economy. That's good news for workers and another signal of strength for the job market, but the Fed worries it could also add upward pressure on inflation.

Loretta Mester, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, said in a speech Thursday that she saw "a compelling economic case" at the Fed's meeting earlier this month to raise rates by double what it did.

In other trading Friday, U.S. benchmark crude oil lost $1.48 to $77.00 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international pricing basis, gave up $1.54 to $83.60 per barrel.

The dollar rose to 134.94 Japanese yen from 133.99 yen. The euro slipped to $1.0639 from $1.0673.