Stock markets were mixed on Friday, with oil prices rising due to concerns about the impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict on Middle Eastern supplies. European gas prices reached their highest levels since February, and Energi Danmark analysts attributed the recent pipeline sabotage in the Baltic Sea to geopolitical uncertainty.
Last weekend’s leak in the Finland-Estonia gas pipeline was believed to be caused by external activity, sparking suspicions of Russian involvement. Wall Street stocks rose in early trading, with major US banks like JPMorgan and Wells Fargo reporting better earnings and revenues than expected.
Analysts are also closely monitoring developments in the Middle East, as the conflict between Israel and Hamas could broaden. Stock markets had enjoyed a fruitful few days since last week’s US jobs report, suggesting the world’s top economy remained resilient but not too strong to warrant more central bank tightening to tame prices. However, data showing the US consumer prices index rose slightly more than expected in September highlighted the ongoing battle against inflation.
The Hong Kong stock market fell over two percent in Asia due to selling in the tech sector. The market had been strong this week due to hopes for government support for the economy and struggling mainland markets. Chinese exports and imports showed slight improvement, while inflation remained flat for September. Currency traders were closely monitoring the yen as the dollar pushed towards 150 after the US inflation reading. Japanese officials warned of extreme moves and prepared for intervention. Analysts said traders were worried about selling the yen too far in case Tokyo intervened.
The Dow Jones index rose 0.9% to 33,942.16 points, while London’s FTSE 100 remained flat at 7,644.23. Frankfurt’s DAX fell 0.8% to 15,306.56, Paris’ CAC 40 fell 0.6% to 7,061.73, and the Euro StoxX 50 fell 0.6% to 4,171.36. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.6% to 32,315.99, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 2.3% to 17,813.45, and Shanghai’s Composite fell 0.6% to 3,088.10. Brent North Sea crude rose 3.8% to $89.23 per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate rose 4.0% to $86.20 per barrel.