ECB’s Rehn said that rate hikes are not yet in sight but it will happen one day
Meanwhile, Wall Street indexes finished broadly higher overnight, driven by energy and technology companies. In individual stocks, Microsoft shares gained 1.6% after announcing a dividend increase and a $60-billion share repurchase program. The S&P 500 rose 0.85% to see the biggest daily gain since late August. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.68% and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.82%.
As for the data, US industrial production expanded by 0.4% on a monthly basis in August following July’s increase of 0.8%. The figure came in slightly weaker than the market expectation of 0.5%. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector rose 0.2% last month to 76.4%.
Stocks were mostly lower in Asia on Thursday after Japan and China released data that were weaker than expected. Japan reported that its exports rose 26.2% in August from a year earlier, well below forecasts for a rise of 34.0%. In China, retail sales grew 2.5% in August, down from 8.5% in July. As a result, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-pacific shares outside Japan dropped 0.45%. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index dropped 0.62%, the Shanghai Composite index gave up 0.91%, and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong declined 1.78%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 bucked the trend to gain 0.58% amid higher oil prices.
In currencies, dollar demand has eased across the market on Wednesday after US CPI missed expectations. However, the US currency regained upside momentum today, making the common currency retreat back below the 1.1800 figure. Furthermore, the selling pressure has intensified during the European hours to send the pair to the 1.1773 region. In his latest remarks, ECB’s Rehn said that rate hikes are not yet in sight but it will happen one day.