European stocks closed higher Thursday as investors reacted to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s first interest rate hike in years. The pan-European Stoxx 600 index closed 0.4% higher, with oil and gas stocks up 2.2%. Britain’s FTSE 100 was the standout gainer, rising 1.2%. The Bank of England raised interest rates for the third straight day Thursday, striking a dovish tone as the Russia-Ukraine conflict is expected to keep inflation high for longer. The Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee voted 8-1 to raise the benchmark rate by another 0.25 percentage point to 0.75%.
U.S. stocks gained for a third straight day Thursday, building on this week’s strong rally as investors digested recent news from Ukraine and settled for the outcome of the Federal Reserve meeting. American Express led the Dow with a gain of more than 3.5% after Bank of America maintained its buy recommendation on the stock. Healthcare stocks and software companies also posted strong gains. Thursday’s gains came a day after the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate for the first time since 2018 and announced six more rate hikes this year, sparking a relief rally in stocks.
Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region were mixed this morning as investors await the Bank of Japan’s monetary policy decision. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was down 1.74% in early trading. The benchmark index has had a volatile week so far, suffering big losses on Monday and Tuesday before making a dramatic turnaround in the following two days.
GameStop shares fall after Christmas quarter losses
GameStop shares fell about 8% in extended trading Thursday after the video game retailer reported an unexpected Christmas quarter loss and declined to provide a financial outlook. The company said its PowerUp Rewards Pro membership programme grew 32% year over year and now has about 5.8 million members. For the three months ended Jan. 29, total revenue rose to $2.25 billion, but the company reported a net loss of $147.5 million, or $1.94 per share. That compares with a profit of $80.5 million, or $1.19 per share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted loss per share for the fourth quarter was $1.86. The company suffered from both supply chain challenges and Omicron variation.
Chinese EV maker XPeng leads investment in $200 million fund
China’s XPeng announced Thursday that it has led an investment in a new $200 million fund focused on supporting electric vehicles and “pioneering technology” startups. Investors in the fund, called Rockets Capital, include a number of high-profile venture capitalists. XPeng has not elaborated on what is meant by “cutting-edge technology,” but the Chinese government has identified several areas that fall under that designation, including artificial intelligence and semiconductors. The latest fund comes at a time when the electric vehicle industry is expected to continue growing. Market research firm Gartner forecasts that 6 million electric cars will be shipped this year, up from 4 million in 2021.