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Stocks climb, dollar drops as Fed seen halting rate rises soon

Stocks climb, dollar drops as Fed seen halting rate rises soon
April 14, 2023 Web Desk

LONDON (AFP) - Equity markets rose Friday, with Paris hitting a record-high, as investors reacted positively to easing inflation, recession concerns and some strong earnings.

The dollar hit a year-low against the euro and 10-month trough versus sterling after official data this week showed high inflation slowing in the United States, fanning hopes that the Federal Reserve would soon stop hiking interest rates.

Oil prices firmed, winning support from tight supplies.

Stocks advanced "on increasing signs that the global round of interest rate hikes could be drawing to a close", noted Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor.

In a sign of cooling inflation elsewhere, Singapore's central bank kept rates steady Friday, having previously hiked five times in a row.

And data showed Swedish inflation fell slightly in March as energy cost hikes receded. Nevertheless, consumer price increases remained in the double digits at 10.6 percent, a level similar to annual British inflation.

The high rate of inflation in the eurozone ought to come down over the coming months, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said Friday, but warned there was "considerable uncertainty" around the forecast.

The US inflation data reassured investors that the country's economy could be heading for a soft landing, even though minutes from the Fed's March policy meeting revealed some officials see a mild recession this year.

Focus turns to the release Friday of US retail sales, while the corporate earnings season kicks off in earnest, with results from American banking titans including JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citigroup.

Traders are keenly awaiting their outlook statements in light of the upheaval in the banking sector last month that saw three US lenders go under and Credit Suisse bought by rival UBS.

The Paris CAC 40 stocks index of leading French companies hit a record-high above 7,500 points at the start of trading Friday, thanks in part to strong earnings Thursday from luxury group LVMH.