Global Stocks Mixed After Fed Officials Support Higher Rates

BEIJING (AP) -- Global stock markets were mixed Thursday after notes from a Federal Reserve meeting showed officials expect more U.S. interest rate hikes to fight stubborn inflation.

London, Shanghai and Hong Kong declined. Frankfurt and Wall Street futures advanced. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday.

Notes from the latest Federal Reserve board meeting showed members expect "ongoing increases" in its key lending rate to slow the economy. That dampened hopes for cuts as early as late this year.

"The need for 'higher for longer' rates was made plain," said Vishnu Varathan of Mizuho Bank in a report.

In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London lost 0.3% to 7,909.58. Frankfurt's DAX was up less than 0.1% at 15,399.99 while the CAC 40 in Paris shed 0.1% to 7,299.26.

On Wall Street, the future for the benchmark S&P 500 index was up 0.4%. That for the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.3%.

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 lost 0.2%. Its gain this year has narrowed to 3.9% from a peak of 8.9%.

The Dow slid 0.3% while the Nasdaq composite edged up 0.1%.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.5% to 3,276.19 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong fell 0.5% to 20,323.24.

The Kospi in Seoul rose 1% to 2,442.26 after South Korea's central bank left its key lending rate unchanged. Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 shed 0.4% to 7,285.40.

India's Sensex advanced less than 0.1% to 59,801.66. New Zealand and Jakarta advanced while Singapore and Bangkok declined.

Global stock prices have been declining on worries inflation that hit multi-decade highs last year might not be cooling as quickly or smoothly as traders hoped.

Traders worry the Fed and other central banks might be willing to push the world into recession to extinguish upward pressure on prices.

Traders are calling off bets the Fed might cut rates late this year. They expect at least two more increases of 0.25 percentage points. Some think the U.S. central bank might go back to using unusually large increases of double that margin, as it did last year.

The Fed's key lending rate stands at 4.50% to 4.75%, up from close to zero a year ago. It has said it expects no cuts this year.

The Fed minutes showed "a few" officials preferred to raise the benchmark rate by 0.5 points at the last meeting, double the margin the bank decided on.

That followed resilient readings on hiring, retail sales and inflation that showed economic activity still is strong.

Traders see a 3-in-4 chance the Fed will raise rates by 0.25 points at its March meeting, according to CME Group. They see a 27% chance of a hike of 0.50 points.

A month ago, traders saw a roughly one-in-five chance the Fed wouldn't raise rates at all in March.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude gained 20 cents to $74.15 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract tumbled $2.41 on Wednesday to $73.95. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trading, advanced 19 cents to $80.64 per barrel in London. It fell $2.45 the previous session to $80.60.

The dollar fell to 134.79 yen from Wednesday's 134.99 yen. The euro fell to $1.0623 from $1.0650.