International stocks were mixed in the wake of strong U.S. labor market data and signs of greater uncertainty among central bank officials over how long it will take elevated inflation to abate.

Futures tied to the S&P 500 rose 0.2%, pointing to an extension of the index’s recent gains when markets reopen after the Thanksgiving holiday. Nasdaq-100 futures added 0.1%.

The dollar hovered close to its latest high Thursday. The U.S. bond market was closed for Thanksgiving, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note closing at 1.644% Wednesday. 

Stocks got a boost Wednesday from signs of an acceleration in the U.S. economic recovery. Jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs, fell to the lowest weekly level in 52 years. Household spending and personal income both rose. Minutes from the Federal Reserve reiterated that officials expect the recent bout of inflation to ease in 2022, although some officials discussed increasing the pace of tapering, as consumer-price rises may be longer-lasting than previously expected.

“We’ve certainly had a bit more hawkish messages from the Fed lately. Yet equity markets seem to trust that the Fed would only accelerate tapering if the economy is performing well,”

Kiran Ganesh,

a multiasset strategist at UBS, said. “That’s been enough to keep them moving up.”

Crude prices wavered between small gains and losses Thursday. The Wall Street Journal reported that top producers Saudi Arabia and Russia were considering pausing planned output increases, after a group of countries led by the U.S. and China said they would release strategic petroleum reserves. Global benchmark Brent crude added 0.1% to trade at $81.16, and was up 2.8% for the week.

Bitcoin edged up to trade at around $58,000, a 16% decline from its record high set earlier in November. 

The Kospi stock index fell after the Bank of Korea increased its main policy rate.


Ahn Young-joon/Associated Press

In a sign of inflationary pressures globally, South Korea’s central bank raised a key policy rate Thursday for the second time in three months. The benchmark Kospi stock index closed down 0.5%. 

Elsewhere in Asia, China’s Shanghai Composite Index retreated 0.2%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.2%. Chinese property developer Kaisa said it risked defaulting on its international debt and proposed a $400 million bond swap. Its Hong Kong-listed shares jumped nearly 17%. 

Meanwhile, Japan’s Nikkei 225 climbed 0.7%, lifted by financial stocks that got a boost from Tokyo’s decision to issue new sovereign bonds to fund an extra budget.

Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group

rose 1.2% and

Daiwa Securities Group

advanced 1.4%. 

French drinks maker

Remy Cointreau

reported that its net profit more than doubled in the first half of the year, and raised its full-year guidance. Its shares jumped over 10%. Evolution shares declined 15% after the Swedish gaming company said it was conducting an internal review in relation to accusations of working with sanctioned countries.

The broader pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.1%. Investors are awaiting the European Central Bank’s minutes from its latest monetary policy meeting, which are set to go out at 7:30 a.m. ET. 

“We favor markets where policy is likely to remain looser, like the eurozone and Japan,” Mr. Ganesh said. Sentiment in Europe was also boosted by reports that Germany’s new coalition government had pushed back against a full lockdown, he added.

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