Global stocks mixed as growth concerns weigh on sentiment

BEIJING (AP) — European stocks opened flat while Asian markets declined Wednesday after U.S. inflation was lower than expected amid unease about the impact of the coronavirus’s delta variant.

London and Frankfurt opened little-changed. Shanghai, Hong Kong Tokyo retreated.

Wall Street futures were higher a day after the benchmark S&P 500 index fell despite data showing consumer prices rose at their slowest rate in seven months in August.

“Initial optimism from a lower-than-expected print on the U.S. CPI was quickly overridden by global growth concerns,” Yeap Jun Rong of IG said in a report.

In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London gained less than 0.1% to 7,036.03 and Frankfurt’s DAX was flat at 15,724.21. The CAC 40 in Paris lost 0.2% to 6,641.55.

On Wall Street, futures for the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.2%.

On Tuesday, S&P 500 lost 0.6% after the government reported consumer prices in August rose 0.3% over the previous month.

The Dow dropped 0.8% and the Nasdaq composite fell 0.5%.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.2% to 3,656.22 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo shed 0.5% to 30,51.71.

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong tumbled 1.8% to 25,033.21.

Hong Kong-traded shares in Macau casinos plunged following reports of a possible crackdown on the industry in the former Portuguese colony and gambling center.

Wynn Macau lost 28%, Sands China declined 30%, MGM China gave up 24% and local operator SJM Entertainment dropped 21%.

The Kospi in Seoul lost 0.1% to 3,153.40 and Sydney’s S&P-AS 200 retreated 0.3% to 7,417.00.

India’s Sensex gained 0.9% to 58,746.52. New Zealand and Southeast Asian markets declined.

Investor optimism about the rollout of coronavirus vaccines and central bank support for global economies is competing with anxiety about the impact of the delta variant and anti-disease measures on consumers and businesses.

Investors worry higher inflation might make the Federal Reserve and other central banks feel pressure to wind down easy credit and other stimulus. The Fed has said it believes a spike in U.S. inflation is temporary and interest rates will be kept low until a recovery is established.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose 82 cents to $71.29 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract added 1 cent on Tuesday to $70.46. Brent crude, the price basis for international oils, advanced 78 cents to $74.38 per barrel in London. It gained 9 cents the previous day to $73.60 a barrel.

The dollar fell to 109.33 Japanese yen from 109.63 yen. The euro gained to $1.1826 from $1.1804.