Wall Street and European stocks rose on Wednesday as investors viewed mixed reports on how large companies were handling inflationary pressures.
The S&P 500 rose 0.4%, marking its sixth consecutive day of gains and marking its longest streak of consecutive daily increases since late June.
The blue chip index traded just below its all-time high in early September closing, despite a few hectic trading weeks before the start of the earnings season.
The tech-driven Nasdaq Composite turned, ending the day slightly lower after abandoning early morning gains. In Europe, the regional Stoxx 600 index closed 0.3% higher, taking its October gain to more than 3% so far, on optimism about the quarterly earnings season.
The moves came after consumer goods group Nestlé lifted its full-year profit forecast as it hiked product prices to counter rising input costs. Consumer goods leader Procter & Gamble also announced on Tuesday that it would raise prices and maintain its earnings outlook for the full year.
Dutch painter Akzo Nobel released weaker-than-expected quarterly results on Wednesday, citing commodity price inflation and supply chain disruptions. Headline consumer price inflation in the United States exceeded 5 percent for four months and hit a 29-year high in Germany.
“Right now, we appear to have enough earnings power in the stock markets to offset macroeconomic headwinds,” said Marija Veitmane, senior strategist at State Street. “But while some companies have shown that they are currently able to pass higher costs on to consumers and maintain margins, it is too early to tell if this will be a long-term trend.”
The yield on the benchmark US Treasury note, which moves against its price, rose 0.01 percentage point to 1.64%, its highest level since May.
Half of Federal Reserve policymakers plan to hike U.S. interest rates from their current all-time high next year, but the world’s most influential central bank still describes inflationary pressures as transient.
“Markets agree with central banks that inflation is temporary and will not persist into 2023. Only when it changes do expectations about central banks [and their monetary policy] materially change.
In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 1.4% while Tokyo’s Topix ended the day roughly where it started.
In foreign currencies, the pound sterling strengthened 0.2 percent to $ 1.38 against the dollar, after data showed annual consumer price inflation in the UK edged down to 3.1 percent in September. The British currency jumped 0.5% against its US counterpart on Tuesday as traders bet on the Bank of England’s interest rate hike.
“The Bank of England will have to raise interest rates in December and probably also in February to contain inflation fears,” Liberum strategists Joachim Klement and Susana Cruz commented in a note to clients after the release of data on the inflation, noting that Wednesday’s report showed “inflationary pressures still high in the UK”.
The dollar index, which measures the US currency against six others, eased in afternoon trading, falling 0.2 percent.
Brent crude, the benchmark for oil, was up 0.9% to $ 85.82.
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