US, European stocks end winning week on benign note

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index led Asian losses as market-heavyweight Alibaba was hammered (Bertha WANG)
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index led Asian losses as market-heavyweight Alibaba was hammered (Bertha WANG)

European and US stocks ended an upbeat week on a benign note Friday, pushing higher after cooling inflation reports raised hopes of an end to interest rate hikes.

Major US indices shook off early losses, finishing higher on the session and with weekly gains for the third straight week.

"Every time the market tries to sell off a little bit, more buyers show up," said Adam Sarhan of 50 Park Investments. "We are setting the stage for a strong end to the month and a strong end to the year."

The broad-based S&P 500 ended at 4,514.02, up 0.1 percent for the day and 2.2 percent for the week.

Analysts have described US investors as prone to a "fear of missing out" amid hopes a slowing US economy will avert a recession.

European markets were up in afternoon deals, with London leading gains as it closed more than one percent higher despite data showing an unexpected drop in retail sales in October.

Hong Kong closed down 2.1 percent, with shares in Chinese e-commerce titan Alibaba hammered after the company cancelled a spinoff of its cloud computing arm, citing the US-China chip war.

But crude prices rebounded after falling almost five percent on Thursday as investors look ahead to a meeting of the OPEC+ group of oil exporters.

Weaker-than-expected US inflation data this week fanned hopes that the Federal Reserve would not need to hike interest rates further.

UK inflation also slowed more than expected.

"There is increasing optimism amongst investors that interest rates are at a peak, and that inflation would continue to ease, considering energy prices are on the decline," said Richard Flax, chief investment officer at Moneyfarm.

Among individual companies, Microsoft fell 1.7 percent on news of the sudden departure of ChatGPT Chief Executive Sam Altman. Microsoft, which has been a major investor in the artificial intelligence company, praised interim chief Mira Murati.

"We have a long-term partnership with OpenAI and Microsoft remains committed to Mira and their team as we bring this next era of AI to our customers," a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement to AFP.

Among individual companies, Gap surged more than 30 percent despite a cautious forecast as investors cheered sign of a turnaround by the retailer's newly installed CEO Richard Dickson.

- Key figures around 1645 GMT -

New York - Dow: UP less than 0.1 percent at 34,947.28 (close)

New York - S&P 500: UP 0.1 percent at 4,514.02 (close)

New York - Nasdaq Composite Index: UP 0.1 percent at 14,125.02 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 1.3 percent at 7,504.25 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.9 percent at 7,233.91 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX: UP 0.8 percent at 15,919.16 (close)

EURO STOXX 50 - UP 0.9 percent at 4,340.77 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.5 percent at 33,585.20 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 2.1 percent at 17,454.19 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.1 percent at 3,054.37 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0916 from $1.0852 on Thursday

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2465 from $1.2414

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 149.64 yen from 150.73 yen

Euro/pound: UP at 87.55 pence from 87.41 pence

West Texas Intermediate: UP 4.1 percent at $75.89 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: UP 4.1 percent at $80.61 per barrel