Stocks turn lower as hot jobs report signals aggressive Fed

BANGKOK (AP) — Hong Kong jumped more than 5% and other world markets also advanced after a survey of Chinese manufacturing showed activity has improved.

U.S. futures and oil prices rose, while the euro gained but stayed below $1.

The monthly manufacturing gauge from Caixin, a Chinese business news magazine, helped to counter renewed concerns about coronavirus outbreaks. It showed activity declined in October but at a slower rate than in the previous month.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong surged 5.2% to 15,455.27 after a comment circulated on social media saying, without citing any source, that the ruling Communist Party might set up a “reopening committee” to look at ways to wind down anti-virus controls that have disrupted trade and business.

A foreign ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian, told reporters he was “not aware of what you just mentioned” when asked about the rumor.

The Shanghai Composite Index gained 2% to 2,940.75.

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In early European trading, Germany’s DAX added 0.9% to 13,367.68 and in Paris, the CAC40 surged 1.6% to 6,363.99. Britain’s FTSE 100 jumped 1.4% to 7,194.25. The future for the S&P 500 was up 0.7% while the contract for the Dow industrials gained 0.5%.

In other Asian trading, the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo added 0.3% to 27,678.92, while the Kospi in Seoul jumped 1.8% to 2,335.22. Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 gained 1.6% to 6,976.90. India’s Sensex advanced 0.4%.

On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 index closed down 0.7% Monday and the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.4%.

A market pullback in August and September, plus better quarterly earnings than expected at many companies, has helped put investors in a buying mood. Markets have also benefited from optimism that the Federal Reserve might be ready to ease up on the aggressive pace of interest rate hikes as it tries to squash inflation.

Stocks gained ground throughout October as investors shifted focus to the latest round of corporate earnings. More than half of the companies within the S&P 500 have reported results and shown overall earnings growth of 2.3%, according to FactSet.

Companies have so far given investors a mixed bag of results and forecasts as Wall Street tries to get a better picture of the economy.

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Inflation is stubbornly hot. The Fed has been trying to rein that in by raising interest rates to slow economic activity. Investors worry that might send the economy into a recession.

Investors this week will be watching this week’s Fed meeting for another extra-large interest rate increase.

The widespread expectation is for it to push through another increase that’s triple the usual size at 0.75 percentage points. Wall Street is roughly split on whether it will do the same in December or shift to a smaller increase, according to CME Group.

The European Union’s statistics agency, Eurostat, reported Monday that inflation hit 10.7% in October, another record in the 19 countries that use the euro currency, fueled by high prices for natural gas and electricity due to Russia’s war on Ukraine.

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Investors will watch the U.S. government’s monthly employment report Friday for clues on whether the hot jobs market is cooling as inflation squeezes businesses.

Wall Street still has plenty of earnings to review from big companies this week. Pfizer will report its results on Tuesday, followed by CVS on Wednesday. Starbucks reports its results on Thursday.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude oil gained 91 cents to $87.44 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the basis for pricing international oil, added $1.03 to $93.84 per barrel in London.

The dollar fell to 147.69 yen from Monday’s 148.73 yen. The euro rose to 99.29 cents from 98.82.

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AP Business Writer Joe McDonald in Beijing contributed.

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