New York: US stocks rose following a more placid session in terms of national politics on Friday, while European equities were boosted by data showing modest eurozone inflation.
US equities have been pressured this week amid talk of additional US tariffs and as President Donald Trump has shaken up his Cabinet, moving to replace Rex Tillerson as secretary of state with current CIA Director Mike Pompeo. White House watchers are girding for more upheaval but there were no bombshell announcements on Friday.
US data showed higher industrial output in February, while a reading of consumer confidence by the University of Michigan hit a 14-year high in March.
“The market enjoyed a respite from Washington,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Annuities. “The positive data supported the market.”
The Dow and S&P 500 both finished higher, while the Nasdaq was flat.
The final eurozone inflation reading for February came in at 1.1 percent, a drop from the initial reading of 1.2 percent, and considerably below the European Central Bank’s target of just under 2.0 percent.
The tepid data reduces the odds the ECB will aggressively seek to tighten monetary supply, analysts said.
“Eurozone inflation trickling along at nearly half of the ECB’s target implies a very gradual removal of the punchbowl. That’s a clear positive for risky assets,” said Jasper Lawler, head of research at London Capital Group.
The ECB has only been inching towards an exit from its stimulus program, the main element of which is buying 30 billion euros of bonds per month until at least September.
“Clearly whatever the ECB is doing to get that CPI (consumer price index) figure creeping higher isn’t working, news that helped send the…DAX and CAC up,” said Connor Campbell, analyst at Spreadex traders.
Frankfurt stocks climbed 0.4 percent, helped by shares in Siemens’s Healthineers unit, which surged more than eight percent after the industrial giant raised 4.2 billion euros in an initial public offering.
Meanwhile, Paris shares added 0.3 percent and outside the eurozone, the London FTSE 100 index also rose 0.3 percent.
Earlier, Tokyo’s Nikkei fell 0.6 percent amid concerns over a strengthening yen and political uncertainty in the US.
Key figures around 2100 GMT
New York – Dow: UP 0.3 percent at 24,946.51 (close)
New York – S&P 500: UP 0.2 percent at 2,752.01 (close)
New York – Nasdaq: FLAT at 7,481.99 (close)
London – FTSE 100: UP 0.3 percent at 7,164.14 (close)
Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.4 percent at 12,389.58 (close)
Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.3 percent at 5,282.75 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.7 percent at 3,438.79 (close)
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.6 percent at 21,676.51 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.1 percent at 31,501.97 (close)
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.2286 from $1.2305 at 2200 GMT on Thursday
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3936 from $1.3937
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 105.97 yen from 106.34 yen
Oil – Brent North Sea: UP $1.09 at $66.21 per barrel
Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP $1.15 at $62.34 per barrel