- European stocks closed higher on Wednesday as strong gains offset worries about global growth and inflation. The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed 0.7% higher after starting the session in the red. Technology stocks rose 2.6% to lead gains, while banks fell 1.6%. U.K. gross domestic product rose 6.9% in August from a year earlier, slightly above the Reuters consensus forecast of 6.7%. According to the Office for National Statistics, the UK economy is now 0.8% below pre-Covid levels.
- The S&P 500 ended its three-day losing streak on Wednesday as investors digested third-quarter results and insights on when the Federal Reserve might reduce its bond-buying program. Minutes from the September meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee released Wednesday afternoon indicate that the central bank could begin scaling back its bond-buying program as early as mid-November. The consumer price index for September, released Wednesday morning, rose 0.4% from the previous month and 5.4% from a year earlier, according to the Labor Department. Economists had expected a 0.3% increase from the previous month or a 5.3% annual rate, according to Dow Jones.
- Asia-Pacific stocks mostly advanced as investors reacted to the release of Chinese inflation data for September. Producer price inflation rose sharply in September, official data showed Thursday. The producer price index for September rose 10.7% from a year earlier, slightly above expectations for a 10.5% increase in a Reuters poll. China’s consumer price index also rose 0.7% in Sept. September from a year earlier.
JPMorgan beats profit expectations
JPMorgan Chase on Wednesday reported third-quarter earnings that beat expectations as loan losses came in $1.5 billion higher than expected. The profit came after the bank released $2.1 billion in reserves and booked $524 million in charge-offs in the quarter, New York-based JPMorgan said in a statement. The bank posted a profit of $3.74 a share, which included 52 cents a share from reserve releases and 19 cents a share from a tax return. The bank “delivered strong results as the economy continues to show good growth – despite the dampening effect of the Delta variance and supply chain disruption,” CEO Jamie Dimon said in the statement.
WHO says covid deaths worldwide fell to lowest level in a year last week
Covid-19 deaths fell to their lowest level in nearly a year last week, reaching almost 50,000, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday. Covid deaths are down in all regions except Europe, but vaccination disparities persist in much of the developing world. Tedros said 56 countries had failed to meet the WHO target of vaccinating 10% of their populations against Covid by the end of September, adding that reported deaths were highest in countries with the least access to vaccination.