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finance & economyJanuary 28, 2023

Global shares edge higher, tracking Wall Street rally

Global shares advanced Friday, tracking a rally on Wall Street following reports suggesting the economy and corporate profits may be doing better than feared.

France's CAC 40 gained 0.2% to 7,107.44. Germany's DAX was unchanged at 15,134.04, while Britain's FTSE 100 rose nearly 0.2% to 7,773.10. The future for the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.1% lower and that for the S&P 500 futures fell 0.3%.

On Thursday, Wall Street stocks climbed to their highest level in nearly eight weeks after the Commerce Department reported that the U.S. economy expanded at a 2.9% annual pace in the last quarter, ending 2022 with momentum despite higher interest rates and widespread fears of a looming recession.

But more swings may still be ahead, as investors digest a torrent of earnings and economic reports. Markets have veered up and down recently as worries about a severe recession and drop-off in profits battle against hopes the economy can manage a soft landing and the Federal Reserve may ease up on interest rates.

In Tokyo on Friday, data showed the core consumer price index, excluding volatile food and energy costs, was up 4.3%, slightly higher than expected and above the Bank of Japan's target of 2%. Japan's central bank has refrained from raising interest rates to tamp down price increases, however, saying the risk of growth slowing too quickly outweighs the threat from inflation.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 rose nearly 0.1% to finish at 27,382.56. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.3% to 7,493.80. South Korea's Kospi gained 0.6% to 2,484.18. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.5% to 22,688.90.

Markets remained closed in Shanghai for the Lunar New Year holidays. Markets on the Chinese mainland will reopen on Monday.

India's Sensex fell 1.5% as the Adani Group was hit by heavy selling for a second trading session. Shares in seven Adani companies have plunged this week, wiping out billions of dollars in market value, after short-selling firm Hindenburg Research said it was betting against the conglomerate, which has holdings in energy, data transmission, construction and other major industries.

The Adani Group nonetheless went ahead with a share offering for retail investors Friday, as shares in its flagship Adani Enterprises sank nearly 16%. Shares in some other group companies fell as much as 20%, triggering some halts to trading.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude rose 60 cents to $81.61 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 14 cents to $81.01 on Thursday.

Brent crude, the international pricing standard, gained 67 cents to $88.14 a barrel in London.

In currency trading, the U.S. dollar edged down to 130.18 Japanese yen from 130.23 yen. The euro cost $1.0873, down from $1.0890.