Inflation worries hit stocks ahead of US data

LONDON - Inflation concerns undermined European stocks and lifted the dollar on Friday as financial markets eyed key U.S. consumer price data due later in the day.

By (Reuters)

Published: Fri 13 Jun 2008, 6:39 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 1:09 PM

Euro zone government bond yields also rose to their highest in nearly a year. Early signs that Irish voters may vote "no" to a new European Union treaty also weakened the euro.

May's U.S. Consumer Price Index data, due at 1330 GMT, will be more closely watched than usual following a series of warnings from U.S. Federal Reserve officials about inflationary pressures.

The warnings have prompted expectations of rate hikes by the end of the year. Other central banks, including the European Central Bank, have been similarly hawkish.

Also attracting attention was a Group of 8 finance ministers meeting in Japan over the weekend, which could underpin some recent strength in the dollar.

European stocks fell ahead of the U.S. data.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.7 percent. It gained 0.9 percent on Thursday, snapping a six-session losing run.

"Inflation is a major negative factor for equities, no matter the source so any good news on either lower oil prices or (macroeconomic) data would be a tremendous support," said Arthur van Slooten, strategist at Societe Generale, in Paris.

Crude oil was down slightly in the day but still above a heady $135 a barrel.

Earlier, Japan's Nikkei stock average rose 0.6 percent, primarily on the view that exporters would benefit from a weaker yen if the dollar rises.

Still, the benchmark Nikkei average posted its worst weekly fall in three months as worries about rising inflation and interest rate hikes dampened investor appetite.

The Nikkei ended the day up 85.13 points at 13,973.73. Over the week, it lost 3.6 percent.

DOLLAR, BONDS The dollar rose against the euro and the yen and was on track for its best week in over three years against a basket of currencies.

"If the tone of (the G8) statement is unchanged from the last meeting when coordinated action was mentioned, this would give more support to the dollar," said Michael Klawitter, currency strategist at Dresdner Kleinwort in Frankfurt.

The dollar index -- against major currencies -- was up 0.15 percent at 73.928, up more than 2 percent on the week and heading for its biggest weekly gain since April 2005.

The euro was down 0.8 percent at $1.5334, with losses exacerbated by the early indications from Ireland. A "no" vote could scupper EU reform plans.

The dollar was up 0.3 percent against the yen at 108.26 yen. Inflation worries continued to hit fixed income. Bund futures hit their lowest price since July and the 10-year euro zone government bond yield was at 4.657 percent , the highest since July.

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