Stock markets diverged on Friday as investors awaited next week's crucial interest rate decisions from the US Federal Reserve and other central banks.

Wall Street stocks finished out a quiet week with modest gains, adding to the weekly advance.

Expectations that the Fed will hold off raising interest rates next week for the first time since starting its hiking cycle last year to combat high inflation have pushed equities higher for most of the month.

"The question on everyone's mind is, will this good fortune for the stock market continue?" said analyst Patrick O'Hare.

"The answer is unknowable today since it rests in what the future brings the market in terms of economic data, earnings growth, interest rate movements, and policy action," he added.

Asian indices closed higher but Europe's major stock markets dipped a day after data showed that the eurozone was in recession at the start of the year.

"It hasn't exactly been the most exciting day as far as events or data is concerned so I think it's just been a bit of a low key session," said market analyst Craig Erlam at the OANDA trading platform.

"What's more, the US inflation report and Fed meeting next week may be a bit of a distraction in the short term," he added.

Elsewhere, eyes are on China where there is growing speculation that authorities will unveil fresh stimulus measures to kickstart the world's number-two economy, with the post-zero-Covid rally already fading.

Disappointing readings on manufacturing activity and trade this week have compounded the view that officials need to step in, with reports suggesting that the People's Bank of China will cut interest rates soon.

Expectations were ramped up Thursday after a key government adviser said borrowing costs should come down to help struggling firms' financing ability.

The need for action was reinforced Friday by Chinese data showing consumer inflation essentially flat in May and wholesale prices falling more than expected.

"On the whole, the muted inflation environment may call into question the sustainability of the economic recovery, but it also provides a favourable backdrop for policymakers to roll out more policy support," said HSBC's Erin Xin.

- Key figures around 2030 GMT - 

New York - Dow: UP less 0.1 percent at 33,876.78 (close)

New York - S&P 500: UP 0.1 percent at 4,298.86 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: UP 0.2 percent at 13,259.14 (close)

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.5 percent at 7,562.36 (close) 

Frankfurt - DAX: DOWN 0.3 percent at 15,949.84 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.1 percent at 7,213.14 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.2 percent at 4,289.79 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 2.0 percent at 32,265.17 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: UP 0.5 percent at 19,389.95 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.6 percent at 3,231.41 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.0749 from $1.0782 on Thursday

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2578 from $1.2560

Dollar/yen: UP at 139.41 yen from 138.92 yen

Euro/pound: DOWN at 85.44 percent from 85.84 pence

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 1.5 percent at $74.79 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 1.6 percent at $70.17 per barrel


2023-06-09T03:06:04Z dg43tfdfdgfd