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Global stocks mixed ahead of US GDP, Europe rates decision

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Global stocks mixed ahead of US GDP, Europe rates decision

BEIJING (AP) — Global stock markets were mixed Thursday ahead of an update on the U.S. economy and a European Central Bank meeting that is expected to raise its key interest rate to a 13-year high to fight stubborn inflation.

London and Hong Kong advanced, while Frankfurt, Tokyo and Shanghai declined. Wall Street futures rebounded.

Forecasters expect U.S. government data to show the economy grew in the three months ending in September following two quarters of contraction. Other indicators including housing sales suggest activity is cooling following rate hikes to rein in inflation that is at a 40-year high.

The ECB, which manages the euro currency used by Germany, France and 17 other countries, is expected to raise its benchmark lending rate by up to 0.75 percentage points.

Traders worry this year’s aggressive rate hikes might tip the global economy into recession.

The ECB will “have to turn a blind eye” to signs of slowing activity “as it battles to bring inflation back under control,” Fawad Razaqzada of StoneX said in a report.

In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London gained 0.3% to 7,077.49 while the DAX in Frankfurt lost 0.4% to 13,146.01. The CAC 40 in Paris sank 0.6% to 6,241.22.

On Wall Street, the future for the benchmark S&P 500 index was up 0.2%. That for the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.3%.

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 index fell 0.7%, breaking three days of gains after Microsoft and the parent companies of Google and Facebook reported weaker-than-expected profit or revenue.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite dropped 2%. The Dow ended little changed.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury, or the difference between the day’s market price and the payout at maturity, fell to 4.01% from 4.10% late Tuesday as investors shifted money into bonds. The two-year yield fell to 4.42% from 4.48%.

Shrinking bond yields suggest investors believe the Federal Reserve might ease up on its rate hike plans as early as this year.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.6% to 2,982.90 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo shed 0.3% to 27,345.24. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 0.7% to 15,425.03.

The Kospi in Seoul advanced 1.7% to 2,288.72 after economic growth slowed to a one-year low of 0.3% over the previous quarter in the three months ending in September from the previous quarter’s 0.7% increase.

Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 gained 0.5% to 6,845.10 and India’s Sensex advanced 0.2% to 59,660.19. New Zealand and Southeast Asian markets rose.

On Thursday, investors will look for signs of a U.S. economic slowdown when the government releases its first estimate of third-quarter gross domestic product.

They hope indicators that show housing sales and consumer sentiment weakening might encourage Fed officials to decide rate hikes are working and fewer are needed.

The Fed is expected to raise its benchmark lending rate by another three-quarters of a percentage point at its November meeting. But traders have grown more confident it will cut back to 0.50 percentage points in December, according to CME Group.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude gained 6 cents to $87.97 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trading, added 8 cents to $93.87 per barrel in London.

The dollar declined to 145.73 yen from Wednesday’s 146.26 yen. The euro edged down to $1.0063 from $1.0080.