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Global stocks rise as downbeat data fail to dent investor optimism, while oil recovers from the Hurricane Ida fallout

Shalini Nagarajan   

Global stocks rise as downbeat data fail to dent investor optimism, while oil recovers from the Hurricane Ida fallout
  • Global stocks are set to start September with gains as investors remain buoyant despite disappointing data.
  • ADP private payrolls data due later will set the stage for Friday's monthly US jobs report.
  • China's factory activity shrank for the first time since April 2020, hit by COVID-19 lockdowns, Caixin data showed.

Global stocks rose on Wednesday, buoyed by investor optimism in the face of disappointing economic data, as oil traders kept a close eye on the impact of Hurricane Ida.

Futures on US stock index the Dow Jones were up 0.3%, while those for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq were 0.3% and 0.2% higher as of 6:00 a.m. ET, suggesting a slightly higher start to trading later in the day.

The indexes closed with losses Tuesday after the US consumer confidence index missed estimates and a six-month low, sparking a sell-off. But all three scored gains for August, with the benchmark S&P 500 logging seven consecutive monthly wins in a row.

With equity markets at or near record highs, investors are alert to a potential downturn in the economy and when the Federal Reserve might start to taper bond purchases and raise interest rates. Fed Chair Jerome Powell reiterated at the Jackson Hole meeting last week that data will play a key part in its assessments.

The next reading to watch is ADP's monthly employment report, which reflects the change in private payrolls, due at 8:15 a.m. ET Wednesday. It will set the stage for the Labor Department's August nonfarm payroll report on Friday. A reading on US manufacturing from the Institute of Supply Management is also due later.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six currencies, rose 0.09% Wednesday to 92.71, coming off three-week lows.

In China, the Caixin survey of manufacturing released Wednesday pointed to a softening of the world's second-largest economy. Factory activity fell into contraction in August, for the first time in about one-and-a-half years. The PMI, which includes smaller private businesses not covered in the official data out Tuesday, came in at 49.20, from 50.3 in July.

"We would expect China to open the stimulus spigots at this point based on their past playbook," said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA. "In all likelihood, they will."

Asian equity markets shrugged off the data. The Shanghai Composite closed 0.6% higher, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.3%. Tokyo's Nikkei was up 1.2%.

In Europe, the tapering and inflation debate is becoming more of a hot topic than in the US, Deutsche Bank strategists said. Consumer price inflation in the eurozone has hit its highest level since November 2011, after a preliminary reading for August on Tuesday came in at a far stronger-than-expected 3%. The European Central Bank has a target of 2% for taking action.

The Euro Stoxx 50 rose 1.2% in the early going Wednesday, and Frankfurt's DAX moved 0.8% higher. London's FTSE 100 gained 0.9%.

Readings on manufacturing activity and unemployment data for the eurozone are due later Wednesday.

Oil moved sharply lower overnight, despite the damages of Hurricane Ida and a huge 4 million-barrel drop in US crude stocks for the week ending August 27.

But prices reversed course ahead of the OPEC+ meeting scheduled to take place at 1500 GMT, where major producers will decide whether to go ahead with their plan to add supply through December.

Brent Crude was up 0.7% at $72.17 a barrel, and West Texas Intermediate gained 0.7% to reach $69 a barrel.

Read More: Morgan Stanley outlines a simple strategy to help stock investors sidestep a 10% sell-off in the S&P 500 by year-end - and names 4 sectors to target


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