Global Markets Pare Gains
By Marina Force and Kenan Machado
Global stocks were mostly lower Thursday ahead of U.S. inflation data and the Bank of England's decision on interest rates.
The Stoxx Europe 600 edged down 0.1% shortly after the opening bell, led by losses in mining stocks. In Asia, most markets fell, paring recent gains on signs that China's economy is cooling.
Futures pointed to a 0.1% opening loss for the S&P 500, after Wall Street reached fresh records for a second day in a row on Wednesday.
The U.S. dollar was flat Thursday ahead of key inflation data.
Investors were awaiting the U.S. Consumer Price Index, due later Thursday, a proxy for inflation that could weigh on the Federal Reserve's monetary policy decisions. Stubbornly low inflation has lowered the odds of an interest-rate increase before the end of the year.
Traders were also anticipating the Bank of England's policy announcement, when it is expected to keep interest rates unchanged at 0.25% despite rising inflation. In the U.K., the FTSE 100 fell 0.1% while the British pound remained unchanged against the U.S. dollar.
In the bond market, the 10-year Treasury yield moved slightly lower Thursday to trade at 2.193% according to Tradeweb, compared with Wednesday's close of 2.194%. Meanwhile, the 10-year German government bond yield was higher at 0.412%, from 0.405% Wednesday. Yields rise as prices fall.
In Asia, tepid economic data from China sent key stock indexes lower on Thursday, reversing early gains. Japan's Nikkei 225 was off 0.3% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was down 0.5%, while South Korea's Kospi rose 0.8%.
Business activity in the world's second-biggest economy slowed further last month, falling short of expectations. Chinese retail sales, industrial production and fixed-asset investment all slowed last month.
"It was a surprise to us that the growth rate in fixed-asset investments came down so speedily, mostly due to the weakness in construction sector, " said ING's Greater China economist Iris Pang. The latter is a direct reflection of a dip in real estate activity, likely due to Beijing's efforts to cool the overheating property market, Ms. Pang said.
Lower-than-expected economic data in China, the world's biggest consumer and importer of copper, also weighed on the metal. Three-month London Metal Exchange copper futures fell 0.6% to $6,514.50 a metric ton.
Elsewhere in the commodities market, Brent crude lost 0.3% to trade at $55.03 a barrel and gold fell 0.2%.
Write to Kenan Machado at [email protected]