Global stocks were mixed Wednesday, gaining in Asia but tracking lower in Europe, after reports showed a sharp rise in inflation in the eurozone. The Tokyo benchmark jumped in its opening day for 2017, helped by a weak yen.
KEEPING SCORE: France’s CAC 40 edged down 0.1 percent to 4,896 and Germany’s DAX was 0.2 percent lower at 11,557. Britain’s FTSE 100 was little changed at 7,176. U.S. shares were set to drift higher with Dow and S&P 500 futures both up 0.2 percent.
DATA: Investors were encouraged by Wednesday’s release of the Nikkei Japan Manufacturing PMI, a survey of purchasing managers. The reading of 52.4 for December was its highest in a year. The figure is based on a scale of 0 to 100, where 50 marks the cutoff between contraction and expansion.
In the eurozone, inflation rose to a three-year high, mainly due to higher energy costs. A survey of business activity also showed growth picking up at the end of 2016. The reports were positive on the whole for a region that has seen low inflation and stagnant growth.
THE QUOTE: “Strong sentiment at the start of the year coupled with volatility could be what 2017 has in store for the markets,” said Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at IG in Singapore.
KIMONOS AND CLAPPING: The Tokyo Stock Exchange welcomed the new year in customary style as women in kimono clapped while Finance Minister Taro Aso rang a bell to celebrate this year’s first session. The Nikkei surged nearly 500 points, as the weak yen, a boon for exporters, pushed auto shares including Honda Motor Co. higher.
ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 added 2.5 percent to close at 19,594.16, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.1 percent to 5,736.40. South Korea’s Kospi gained nearly 0.1 percent to 2,045.64. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dipped 0.1 percent to 22,134.47, while the Shanghai Composite index gained 0.7 percent to 3,158.79.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 20 cents to $52.53 a barrel in New York. It lost $1.39 on Tuesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 26 cents to $55.73 a barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar remained strong, rising to 117.48 yen from 117.39 yen. The euro slumped to $1.0440 from $1.0481.