TOKYO (AP) — Global shares were higher Wednesday after reports on key measures of China manufacturing showed a strong recovery after anti-virus controls were lifted late last year.
France's CAC 40 added 0.5% in early trading to 7,301.78. Germany's DAX rose 0.5% to 15,422.23. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.2% to 7,912.56. The future for the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.4% higher while that for the S&P 500 gained 0.3%.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index jumped 4.2% and Shanghai gained 1% after purchasing managers’ indexes issued by a business magazine, Caixin, and the official China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing showed gains in production, exports and new orders.
Business activity is recovering in China after the ruling Communist Party ended stringent anti-virus restrictions in early December. That followed a slump in activity that dragged last year’s economic growth to 3%, its second-lowest level since at least the 1970s.
“It was already believed that the transition from zero-COVID to living with it was going smoothly but this survey data suggests businesses are now extremely optimistic about the future,” Craig Erlam of OANDA said in a commentary.
“There’s still a long way to go and there could be setbacks along the way but investors will no doubt be encouraged by these early signs,” he said.
It was good news in Hong Kong, where the Hang Seng gained more than 830 points to 20,619.71.
Hong Kong's own outlook has improved as it has relaxed pandemic precautions. The territory's chief executive, John Lee, announced Tuesday t hat masks will no longer be required both outdoors and indoors, but some high-risk areas including hospitals and elderly homes can still require their use.
The Shanghai Composite added nearly 33 points to 3,312.35.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 picked up 0.3% to close at 27,516.53. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 edged nearly 0.1% lower to 7,251.60. South Korean markets were closed for a national holiday.
Wall Street closed out a frigid February with more losses on Tuesday. The S&P 500 lost 0.3%, locking in a loss of 2.6% for the month. The Dow industrials fell 0.7%, while the Nasdaq edged 0.1% lower. Both also sank over the month.
After a strong start to the year driven by hopes inflation is abating, Wall Street shifted into reverse in February. A stream of data showed inflation and the overall economy are remaining more resilient than expected. That’s forced investors to raise their forecasts for how high the Federal Reserve will take interest rates and how long it will keep them there.
High rates can drive down inflation, but they also raise the risk of a recession down the line because they hurt the economy. They also drag on prices for stocks and other investments.
Reports on the economy released Tuesday showed some slight cracks. One said that confidence among U.S. consumers fell in February. Another said that manufacturing in the Chicago region weakened by more than expected.
Investors are keeping an eye on the last of the earnings reports for this season. Several big-name retailers are still on the schedule for this week.
In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude added 39 cents to $77.44 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international pricing standard, rose 38 cents to $83.83 a barrel.
In currency trading, the U.S. dollar inched down to $135.80 Japanese yen from $136.20 yen. The euro rose to $1.0643 from $1.0583.