U.S. stocks were higher early Tuesday morning ahead of the first trading day of 2023.
Coming off a year of big declines for major stock markets, traders worry the Federal Reserve and other central banks might be willing to push the world into recession to cool inflation that is at multi-decade highs.
Investors also are uneasy about the impact of Russia’s war on Ukraine and China’s COVID-19 outbreaks. “Almost everyone is going into 2023 with a healthy dose of trepidation,” Craig Erlam of Oanda said in a report.
On Wall Street, the futures for the benchmark S&P 500 index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.5% ahead of 2023’s first day of U.S. trading. The S&P 500 ended 2022 down 19.4%, its biggest decline since the 2008 financial crisis.
The week’s most closely watched data point is notes from the Fed’s latest meeting due to be released Thursday. That will give traders an update on the U.S. central bank’s thinking about the possible need for more rate hikes.
It will be followed Friday by U.S. employment data. Forecasters expect monthly job gains to decline in December, which they hope might encourage the Fed to dial back plans for more rate hikes.
But the Fed has a “clear focus on keeping inflation under check,” which “could still leave pricing data as the key driver of market moves,” Yeap Jun Rong of IG said in a report.
Traders also are looking ahead to corporate earnings reports in mid-January. The Fed’s key lending rate stands at a range of 4.25% to 4.5%, up from close to zero after seven increases last year.
The U.S. central bank forecasts it will reach a range of 5% to 5.25% by late 2023, with no rate cut before 2024.
Meanwhile, European and Asian shares were mixed, with Frankfurt, Shanghai and Hong Kong advancing and Seoul declining. The DAX in Frankfurt opened up 0.2% at 14,093.38 while the CAC-40 in Paris was unchanged at 6,594.63.
In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.9% to 3,116.51 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose 1.8% to 20,145.29.
Japanese markets were closed.
Seoul’s Kospi shed 0.3% to 2,218.68 after South Korea’s 2022 exports fell 9.5% from the previous year and the country recorded its biggest trade deficit ever.
Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 lost 1.3% to 6,946.20 after Australian house prices fell 1.1% in December and an index of manufacturing activity declined. India’s Sensex gained 0.5% to 61,167.79.
Singapore declined while Bangkok and Jakarta advanced. New Zealand markets were closed.