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Stocks ease on potential rate hikes

rate hikes

U.S. stock index futures were down 0.3%, after the S&P 500 index dropped 1% overnight

Stocks eased on Friday as Federal Reserve officials talked up the likelihood of more hefty U.S. interest rate hikes, though battered Credit Suisse Group rose after announcing a $3 billion bond buyback to steady investors nerves.

Worries over the global economy deepened after chipmakers Samsung and AMD flagged a slump in demand, blaming inflation, higher interest rates and the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. European chipmakers Infineon, STMicroelectronics and ASML fell in tandem. Weak German industrial production in August provided further evidence that Europe’s biggest economy continues to slide into recession, ING bank said.

The dollar and crude oil prices firmed ahead of key U.S. jobs data before the opening bell on Wall Street.

In Europe, the STOXX index of 600 leading companies was down 0.2%, but still heading for its largest weekly gain since late July. It is down about 19% for the year.

Valuations show markets are beginning to discount many of their problems as supply bottlenecks ease and with hopes of a peak in interest rates in the not too distant future, said Patrick Spencer, vice chairman of equities at Baird Investment Bank. The immediate focus is on earnings for the United States and whether consumers are holding up in the teeth of rate hikes, Spencer said.

Bank earnings start next week from Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, Wells Fargo and Citi. That’s going to be a pretty good indication because they all have big credit card businesses and they’ll give us a very good indication on the consumer, Spencer said.

On Friday, Credit Suisse was a standout, the Swiss bank’s shares were up 4.2% after announcing it will buy back up to 3 billion Swiss francs of debt following steep falls in its stock price on unsubstantiated rumours that its future was in doubt.

The MSCI All Country stock index fell 0.3%, leaving it down about 24% for the year so far.

U.S. stock index futures were down 0.3%, after the S&P 500 index dropped 1% overnight. U.S. non-farm payrolls for September is due before the opening bell on Wall Street.

Today, it is the US labour market report, which is likely to paint a picture of some softening, but not to an extent that can be expected to fuel any twist in the rhetoric of US central bankers. Next week, it all comes down to the US inflation release, UniCredit analysts said in a note to clients.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei dropped 0.7%, while South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.2%, weighed partly by a decline in Samsung shares. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was 1.4% lower, with its tech stocks tumbling 3%. Mainland Chinese shares remain closed for the final day of the Golden Week holiday.

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