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Wall Street futures edged lower Wednesday ahead of new employment and wholesale price data with the Federal Reserve gauging its next step in its fight to cool inflation. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrials slipped 0.4% and the S&P 500 fell 0.7% just over an hour before the opening bell. Stronger-than-expected economic data this week has dragged U.S. markets lower on the expectation that the Federal Reserve will be forced to remain aggressive with interest rates during its last policy meeting of 2022. This week, the Dow has fallen 2.4%, the S&P 3.2%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite nearly 4%.
China’s imports and exports shrank in November under pressure from weakening global demand and anti-virus controls at home. Customs data showed exports sank 9% from a year earlier to $296.1 billion, worsening from October’s 0.9% decline. Imports fell 10.9% to $226.2 billion, down from the previous month’s 0.7% retreat. Chinese trade had been forecast to weaken as global demand cooled following interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve and central banks in Europe and Asia to rein in surging inflation. Chinese consumer demand has been hurt by anti-virus measures that shut down large sections of cities to contain virus outbreaks.
With rising costs of goods and services, turning to “buy now, pay later” plans when you check out can be tempting. With no interest or fees, not to mention the predictability of installment plans, this option seems like a more ideal payment method than a credit card. But using these plans to simplify your finances may be hit or miss. When the road isn’t as smooth with a buy now, pay later plan, you might regret not having used a credit card if you had the option. Explore some ways credit cards can outperform buy now, pay later plans.
Stocks are mostly lower in Asia after Wall Street pulled back as surprisingly strong economic reports highlighted the difficulty of the Federal Reserve’s fight against inflation. Tokyo rose while other regional markets declined. U.S. futures gained and oil prices also advanced. The S&P 500 fell 1.8% Monday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 1.4% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq gave back 1.9%. Small-company stocks fell even more. The services sector, which makes up the biggest part of the U.S. economy, showed surprising growth in November. At the same time, markets have been lifted by expectations China will press ahead with easing its stringent pandemic restrictions, relieving pressures on trade, manufacturing and consumer spending.
Ukraine has won victories on the battlefield against Russia but faces a looming challenge on the economic front. The government has been relying on the central bank to print money to cover its huge deficits caused by the war. Tax revenue has fallen, and defense spending has soared for next year's budget. Kyiv is looking for ways to pay for its war effort at least through next year. By then, hopes are that a price cap on Russian oil sales will put Moscow on the economic defensive. Until then, Ukraine is turning to its allies for more money to avoid worsening inflation that hurts ordinary people.
Worries about inflation weighed on Wall Street, leaving major indexes mixed after another bumpy day of trading. The S&P 500 fell 0.1% and the Nasdaq lost 0.2% after being down even more earlier in the day. The Dow ended slightly higher. A government report showing that wage growth accelerated last month spooked investors since it could mean the Federal Reserve will be less able to ease up on its fight against inflation. The yield on the two-year Treasury, which tends to track expectations for future Fed action, rose following the release of the report, which also showed that hiring was stronger than anticipated.
A former bank manager has been sentenced to six months of home confinement for his role in a tax fraud scheme that targeted immigrants, particularly the Congolese community in the Boston area. Federal prosecutors say Christian Zynga was sentenced this week to two years of probation with the first six months to be served in home detention. He was also ordered to pay restitution of nearly $200,000 to the Internal Revenue Service. Authorities say Zynga and an accomplice fraudulently inflated the federal income tax refunds of their clients then kept some of the money for themselves. Zynga pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to defraud.
Shares have advanced in Asia after a rally on Wall Street spurred by the chair of the Federal Reserve's comments on easing the pace of interest rate hikes to tame inflation. Benchmarks in Tokyo and Hong Kong surged more than 1%. While citing some signs that inflation is cooling, Fed Chair Jerome Powell stressed that the Fed will push rates higher than previously expected and keep them there for an extended period. The S&P 500 jumped 3.1% Wednesday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 4.4% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2.2%. Treasury yields fell broadly and crude oil prices rose. Major indexes ended November with their second straight month of gains.
Asian shares are trading mostly lower ahead of a closely watched speech by the Federal Reserve chief that may give clues about future interest rate hikes. Markets are also eyeing developments in China, where protests have erupted recently over the “zero-COVID” strategy that has confined millions of people to their homes, sometimes for months. Shares fell in Tokyo but were higher in Sydney, Seoul, Hong Kong and Shanghai. Authorities in China have eased some controls after demonstrations in at least eight mainland cities and Hong Kong. Security forces have detained an unknown number of people. Wall Street finished mixed.
The head of the International Monetary Fund says it’s time for China to move away from mass lockdowns under its “zero-COVID” approach. Kristalina Georgieva said in an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press that a “recalibration” of the tough approach could shift to more targeted restrictions. That would be easier on the Chinese people and reduce spillover effects on the global economy. She also said it’s not time yet for the U.S. Federal Reserve to ease off on its rapid interest rate increases. High inflation numbers in the U.S. and Europe mean its “too early to step back.” She said the Fed “has no option but to stay the course” until there’s a credible decline in inflation.