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Wall Street heads for gains to salvage a big September slide

With one eye on a key U.S. inflation update for August later on Friday, world markets limped to the end of a poor third quarter and clawed back some of their worst losses. A partial U.S. government shutdown, now on the cards from Sunday as last ditch attempts in Congress to avert it look set to fail, hardly paints a bright backdrop to the final three months of 2023.

The Associated Press has the story:

Wall Street heads for gains to salvage a big September slide

Newslooks- NEW YORK (AP)

Wall Street pointed higher early Friday as markets try to claw back some of the losses in what will most likely be the second straight month of declines and the worst month of 2024.

Futures for the Dow Jones industrials and the S&P 500 rose about 0.5% before the opening bell.

Entering the last day of September trading, the S&P is down 4.6% for the month, while the Dow has seen a 3% decline. That follows August’s declines of 2.4% for the Dow and 1.8% for the S&P 500.

Most of the market’s recent anxiety has been centered on the Federal Reserve that has signaled interest rates will likely remain elevated for longer than most economists expected as the fight against inflation proves difficult. While prices increases have slowed significantly in the past year, they remain above the Fed’s 2% target.

The Fed has stoked its main interest rate to the highest level since 2001 in hopes of extinguishing high inflation, and it indicated last week it may cut rates by less next year than earlier expected.

It’s a sharp departure from recent years, when investors counted on the Fed to cut rates quickly and sharply whenever things looked dicey. Lower rates can goose financial markets, while high rates slow the economy by design and hurt prices for stocks and other investments.

Other drags on the market have been recent earnings reports, especially in the retail sector, where sales have slowed and are forecast to remain sluggish.

Crude oil prices are hovering near their highest levels this year, adding to the inflationary pressures that are a factor behind the Federal Reserve’s intention to keep interest rates high. The likelihood of a U.S. federal government shutdown is also clouding the outlook for the U.S. economy.

Nike shares jumped nearly 10% in premarket after the shoe and athletic apparel maker easily beat Wall Street’s first-quarter profit forecasts. Blue Apron shares more than doubled after the meal kit company said it was being bought by Wonder Group for $103 million.

In Europe at midday, Germany’s DAX rose 0.9% and the CAC 40 in Paris added 1%. London’s FTSE 100 inched up 0.1%.

In Asian trading Friday, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index lost 0.1% to 31,857.62. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.3% to 7,048.60. India’s Sensex gained 0.9%, while in Bangkok the SET declined 0.1%.

Markets were closed in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Taiwan and Seoul.

China Evergrande, the world’s most heavily indebted real estate developer, said in a notice to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that its shares would remain suspended until further notice after they plunged nearly 20% on Wednesday and were suspended from trading as of Thursday.

Evergrande is at the center of a property market crisis that is dragging on China’s economic growth.

Early Friday, U.S. benchmark crude gained $1.24 to $92.95 per barrel. It declined nearly $2 on Thursday.

Brent crude, the international standard, climbed 93 cents to $94.03 per barrel.

In currency dealings, the dollar fell to 149.19 Japanese yen from 149.31 yen late Thursday. The euro climbed to $1.0599 from $1.0568.

On Thursday, Wall Street’s benchmarks ticked higher, trimming its sharp loss for September. The S&P 500 rose 0.6% and the Dow gained 0.3%. The Nasdaq composite climbed 0.8%.

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