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Global shares advance as investors await US growth data

BEIJING

Global stocks and Wall Street futures rose Wednesday as inflation fears eased and investors looked ahead to U.S. data that are expected to show economic growth accelerating.

London and Frankfurt opened higher. Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong advanced.

Investors worry stronger inflation might prompt governments and central banks to roll back economic stimulus. They have been reassured by comments from U.S. Federal Reserve officials that they see no need yet to change course.

“Inflationistas look like they might be ready to throw in the towel,” said Edward Moya of Oanda in a report.

Investors also have been encouraged by stronger U.S. corporate profits and consumer spending. That has kept the U.S. stock market near record highs and boosted optimism in global markets.

Data due out Thursday are expected to show the biggest global economy accelerated in the first three months of this year after expanding at an annual rate of 4.3% in 2020′s final quarter. Economists expect a huge rebound this year following the deepest slump since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London rose less than 0.1% to 7,033.02 and Frankfurt’s DAX added less than 0.1% to 15,476.78. The CAC 40 in Paris was 0.3% higher at 6,408.03.

On Wall Street, the future for the benchmark S&P 500 was up 0.4% while that for the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.3%. On Tuesday, both lost 0.2%. The Nasdaq fell less than 0.1%.

In Asian trading Wednesday, the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.3% to 3,593.36 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo gained 0.3% to 28,642.19. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.9% to 29,166.01.

The Kospi in Seoul ended down 0.1% at 3,168.43 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 lost 0.3% to 7,092.50.

India’s Sensex rose 0.6% to 50,950.69 while New Zealand declined. Markets in Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia were closed for holidays.

Financial, energy and health care stocks accounted for much of Tuesday’s decline on Wall Street.

Moderna rose 3.1% after the drugmaker said its COVID-19 vaccine was found to be effective in children aged 12 to 15.

Technology and communication stocks gained. So did big retailers, cruise lines and other companies that rely on consumer spending.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose 8 cents to $66.15 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 2 cents on Tuesday to $66.07 per barrel. Brent crude, the basis for international prices, added 12 cents to $68.61 per barrel in London. It rose 19 cents the previous session to $68.65 a barrel.

The dollar fell to 108.92 Japanese yen from 108.79 yen. The euro rose to $1.2243 from $1.2213.

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