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Tech leads gains on Wall Street, led by Facebook parent Meta

NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are off to a better start on Wall Street, led by gains in technology stocks. Meta Platforms, Facebook’s parent company, rose 19% after providing an upbeat outlook and announcing a huge share buyback.

NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are off to a better start on Wall Street, led by gains in technology stocks. Meta Platforms, Facebook’s parent company, rose 19% after providing an upbeat outlook and announcing a huge share buyback. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite was up 2% early Thursday, far outperforming other indices. The S&P 500 rose 0.8% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.5%. Other big tech companies will release their results after the closing bell, including Apple, Amazon and Google parent Alphabet. European markets were higher after central banks there hiked interest rates again to fight inflation.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

Futures on Wall Street were mixed on Thursday, a day after the Federal Reserve said the US economy was headed for lower inflation but more rate hikes are planned.

Futures for the S&P 500 rose 0.4%, while futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.4%, a day after markets climbed to their highest since summer.

Wednesday’s rally came after the Fed raised interest rates by 0.25 percentage points, less than previous hikes and in line with analysts’ forecasts. Chair Jerome Powell said the “disinflationary process has begun” but “ongoing rate hikes” are needed.

The latest hike pushed the Fed’s federal funds rate to a 16-year high of 4.5% to 4.75%, up from near zero early last year.

Traders are hoping that central banks, which have repeatedly hiked rates over the past year, will scale back their plans for further rate hikes as inflation eases. Some expect a US cut before 2024, although Powell said he doesn’t expect any this year.

Markets interpreted Powell’s comments as “dovish” despite his warning that it was too early to announce victory, Mizuho Bank’s Venkateswaran Lavanya said in a report.

The gap between market prices and Fed plans “appears to have widened,” Lavanya wrote. “This leaves room for a major shock in the future.”

“We can now, I think for the first time, say that the disinflation process has started,” Powell said. He said his “base case” is that the Fed’s 2% inflation target can be met “without a really significant slowdown or a really big rise in unemployment.”

This seemed to hearten investors who fear central banks may be poised to push the global economy into recession in a bid to cool inflation, which is near multi-decade highs.

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 gained 1% after Powell’s news conference. The Dow rebounded from a loss to gain less than 0.1%. The Nasdaq Composite rose 2%.

Thursday brings another batch of corporate earnings reports, with tech heavyweights Alphabet, Amazon and Apple releasing results after the bell. Ford and Starbucks are also reporting.

Also next Thursday is the weekly unemployment report, which follows stronger jobs data. The government said Wednesday that US job vacancies rose to 11 million in December, about two jobs for every unemployed American. On Friday, the government will publish its jobs report for January.

Markets in Europe moved higher ahead of the European Central Bank’s expected half-point rate hike early Thursday. At midday, the FTSE 100 in London was up 0.6%, the DAX in Frankfurt was up 1.2% and the CAC 40 in Paris was up 0.2%.

The Bank of England raised interest rates by half a percentage point on Thursday in a bid to tame double-digit inflation that is fueling a cost-of-living crisis, public sector strikes and recession fears.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index rose less than 0.1% to 3,285.67 on Thursday and Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.2% to 27,402.05. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.5% to 21,958.36.

Seoul’s Kospi rose 0.8% to 2,466.03 and Sydney’s S&P ASX 200 rose 0.1% to 7,511.60.

India’s Sensex slipped less than 0.1% to 59,664.17. New Zealand and Jakarta advanced while Singapore, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur declined.

In energy markets, the reference price for US crude fell 32 cents to $76.09 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $2.46 to $76.41 on Wednesday. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trading, fell 52 cents to $82.32 a barrel in London. In the previous session, it lost $2.62 to $82.84 a barrel.

The dollar fell to 128.37 yen while the euro rose to $1.0994 from $1.0979.


McDonald reported from Beijing; Ott reported from Silver Spring, Md.

Joe Mcdonald and Matt Ott, The Associated Press

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