Global Shares Mostly Rise After Wall Street Rally on Consumer Confidence

TOKYO (AP) -- Global shares mostly rose Wednesday, boosted by a Wall Street rally that came on positive reports on consumer confidence and job openings.

France's CAC 40 declined 0.1% in early trading to 7,363.09, while Germany's DAX slipped nearly 0.3% to 15,889.66. Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.1% to 7,473.74. U.S. shares were set to drift lower with Dow futures down less than 0.1% at 34,876.00. S&P 500 futures fell 0.1% to 4,501.00.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.3% to finish at 32,333.46. South Korea's Kospi rose 0.4% to 2,561.22. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was virtually unchanged at 18,482.86, while the Shanghai Composite inched up less than 0.1% to 3,137.14.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 jumped 1.2% to 7,297.70 after the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported the monthly Consumer Price Index indicator rose 4.9% in the 12 months to July.

That was lower than the expected 5.2%, marking the first time since February 2022 that the indicator fell below 5%.

"But given that it is still a distance away from the RBA's 2% to 3% target, the central bank may continue to maintain its hawkish-pause stance for some policy flexibility, although we are likely seeing the end of its tightening process," said Yeap Jun Rong, market analyst at IG.

The latest gains came as investors reviewed reports on consumer confidence and the labor market. The Conference Board, a business research group, reported that consumer confidence tumbled in August, surprising economists who were expecting levels to hold steady around the strong July reading. Consumer confidence and spending have been closely watched amid persistent pressure from inflation.

Also on Tuesday, the government reported that job openings fell to the lowest level since March 2021, a larger drop than economists expected. The report also showed that the number of Americans quitting their jobs fell sharply for the second straight month, clear signs that the labor market is cooling in a way that could reduce inflation.

The Fed has been raising its main interest rate for more than a year to its highest level since 2001, in an effort to bring inflation back down to its 2% goal. The central bank held rates steady at its last meeting and Wall Street is betting that it will do the same at its September meeting.

Investors and economists have several more big economic reports on tap this week. The government will provide another update on the nation's gross domestic product later Wednesday. It will also release its monthly employment report for August on Friday.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude rose 29 cents to $81.45 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, gained 21 cents to $85.75 a barrel.

In currency trading, the U.S. dollar edged up to 146.39 Japanese yen from 145.87 yen. The euro cost $1.0866, down from $1.0881.