Le Pays De France - Stocks, oil rise as inflation soars

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Stocks, oil rise as inflation soars
Stocks, oil rise as inflation soars / Photo: © AFP

Stocks, oil rise as inflation soars

Stock markets mostly rose and oil prices climbed Wednesday as investors pored over data showing further spikes to inflation.

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A day after data showed US annual consumer inflation hit a 40-year high in March, information showed wholesale price inflation hit a record annual rate of 11.2 percent over the same period.

Meanwhile in Britain, data showed that UK prices had jumped at the fastest pace in three decades in March.

Global inflation, already rocketing on supply constraints as economies look to fully reopen following pandemic lockdowns, is rising further on fallout from the Ukraine war.

Analysts said markets had welcomed an indication that US inflation was approaching its peak, though it has raised expectations that the Federal Reserve will take more aggressive action to contain prices.

Wall Street stocks rose across the board, with the Dow rising 0.6 percent.

In Europe, London and Paris ended the day barely in positive territory, while Frankfurt dipped.

The gains on Wall Street also came despite a lacklustre start to the corporate earnings season, as JPMorgan Chase saw its first-quarter net profit plunge by 40 percent as it set $900 million aside to deal with potential losses due to the Ukraine conflict and inflation.

It already booked $524 million in losses as it sought to lower its exposure to soaring commodities prices and Russian counterparties.

Shares in JPMorgan Chase fell 2.5 percent.

Meanwhile, Delta Air Lines beat expectations even if it still lost money. It said it expected second-quarter revenue to come in at 97 percent of the pre-pandemic level in 2019.

Its shares rose 4.6 percent.

- Oil rises -

Elsewhere Wednesday, oil prices climbed further in a volatile trading week.

"Having rebounded strongly yesterday, oil prices are showing little sign of softening after Russian President Vladimir Putin said that peace talks with Ukraine were a 'dead-end situation'," said market analyst Michael Hewson at CMC Markets UK.

Russia is a major producer of oil and gas and the war has triggered fears of supply constraints.

"On the other hand, further gains in prices could be constrained after the IEA downgraded its global demand forecasts for this year due to the imposition of extended new lockdowns in China," Hewson added.

The International Energy Agency also said that Russian oil supply is expected to continue to fall in April by 1.5 million barrels per day.

In currency trading Wednesday, the yen hit its lowest level against the dollar in two decades, extending recent falls as the gap widens between Japan's ultra-loose monetary policy and Fed tightening.

Despite being traditionally considered a haven currency, uncertainty fuelled by the war in Ukraine has not caused the yen to strengthen.

Instead, the Fed's move towards a more aggressive rate-tightening policy and the shock of rising oil prices in Japan -- a major importer of fossil fuels -- have pushed the currency lower, analysts said.

- Key figures around 1530 GMT -

New York - Dow: UP 0.6 percent at 34,408.95 points

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.2 percent at 3,824.23

London - FTSE 100: UP less than 0.1 percent at 7,580.80 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP less than 0.1 percent at 6,542.14 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX: DOWN 0.3 percent at 14,076.44 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 1.9 percent at 26,843.49 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: UP 0.3 percent at 21,374.37 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.8 percent at 3,186.82 (close)

Brent North Sea crude: UP 2.6 percent at $107.32 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: UP 2.2 percent at $102.85 per barrel

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0854 from $1.0818

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3050 from $1.2977

Euro/pound: DOWN at 83.22 pence from 83.36 pence

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 125.74 from 126.22 yen