World Markets are Mostly Lower After Retreat on Wall Street

BEIJING (AP) -- Shares retreated Friday in Europe and Asia after a mixed batch of data on the U.S. economy dashed hopes that easier interest rates are coming soon.

Oil prices were lower.

Germany's DAX was flat at 17,944.46 and the FTSE 100 in London was less than 0.1% lower, at 7,739.48. In Paris, the CAC 40 edged 0.1% higher, to 8,170.95.

The futures for the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were nearly unchanged.

In Asian trading, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 declined 0.3% to 38,707.64.

Shares in automakers Honda and Nissan rose ahead of the announcement that the two companies will collaborate in electric vehicles and auto intelligence technology. Honda Motor Co. gained 1.7% while Nissan Motor Co. was up 3.2%.

In South Korea, the Kospi sank 1.9% to 2,666.84.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng slipped 1.4% to 16,720.89 after reports said housing prices have continued to fall since February. The Shanghai Composite index gained 0.3% to 3,054.64.

China's market watchdog announced that regulators will tighten standards for listing companies.

"There is still a gap between the quality of listed companies and the requirements for high-quality economic and social development and the expectations of investors," the China Securities Regulatory Commission said in a notice online.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.6% to 7,670.30.

U.S. stocks slipped Thursday, with the S&P 500 falling 0.3% and the Dow industrials down 0.4%. The Nasdaq composite lost 0.3%.

The moves were more decisive in the bond market, where Treasury yields rose after a report showed inflation was a touch hotter at the wholesale level last month than economists expected. It's the latest in a string of data on inflation that's been worse than forecast, which has kept the door closed on earlier hopes that the Federal Reserve could start cutting interest rates at its meeting next week.

But other reports released Thursday also showed some softening in the economy, which kept alive hopes that the long-term trend for inflation remains downward.

The question hanging over Wall Street is how much the latest signals of potentially stubborn inflation will ultimately delay rate cuts. That in turn could damage the huge run U.S. stocks have been on since late October, rising in 16 of the last 19 weeks.

Fed officials will give their latest forecasts for where they see interest rates heading this year on Wednesday, following their latest policy meeting.

Among the data they'll mull is a report from Thursday that said shoppers spent less at U.S. retailers last month than economists expected. Such data drags on the overall economy but could also remove upward pressure on inflation.

The government also said retail sales were weaker in January than earlier thought. Strong spending by U.S. households has been one of the linchpins keeping the economy out of a recession despite high interest rates.

A separate report said fewer U.S. workers applied for unemployment benefits last week than expected. That's good news for workers generally. But too much strength in the job market, which has remained remarkably resilient, could add upward pressure on inflation.

U.S. Steel sank 6.4% after President Joe Biden came out in opposition of the planned sale of the company to Nippon Steel of Japan.

Nippon Steel announced in December that it planned to buy the Pittsburgh-based steel producer for $14.1 billion in cash, raising concerns about what the transaction could mean for unionized workers, supply chains and U.S. national security.

In other trading early Friday, U.S. benchmark crude oil lost 34 cents to $80.92 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, gave up 36 cents to $85.06 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar rose to 148.76 Japanese yen from 148.32 yen. The euro edged up to $1.0886 from $1.0884.