European shares opened higher on the final trading week of August, as traders weighed the prospect of higher interest rates from the U.S. Federal Reserve and looked ahead to upcoming economic data later in the week.
Germany’s DAX 30 rose 125 points at the open, or 0.8%, France’s CAC 40 climbed 69 points, or 0.9%, and the Italian FTSE MIB gained 207 points, or 0.7%.
Markets are closed in the U.K. for a public holiday.
Market participants continue to reflect on a roundup of commentary from the Kansas City Federal Reserve’s annual retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, last week. At the gathering, a slew of central bankers met to discuss monetary policy and how to address stubbornly high inflation in many major economies.
The most closely watched speech of the event came from Fed Chair Jerome Powell. The U.S. central bank head said that that inflation remains too high and that the Fed is ready to continue hiking interest rates to tame persistently high prices.
While Powell said the Fed could be flexible, he added it still has further to go to fight inflation.
“Although inflation has moved down from its peak — a welcome development — it remains too high,” Powell said in prepared remarks at Jackson Hole.
“We are prepared to raise rates further if appropriate, and intend to hold policy at a restrictive level until we are confident that inflation is moving sustainably down toward our objective.”
With inflation steadily decreasing — but still above target — in many major economies, attention is increasingly turning to how central bankers will respond to a deteriorating growth outlook.
In Asia-Pacific, stocks began the week higher, with mainland Chinese and Hong Kong stocks leading gains in the region.
That was despite concerns over structural issues in China’s economy, such as debt, demographics, and Beijing’s deteriorating relationship with the West.
Within the Chinese market, shares of the world’s most indebted property developer, China Evergrande Group, tumbled 87% as trade resumed after 17 months.
Back in Europe, developments are quiet on the corporate front as the region has wrapped up a busy earnings season.
Swiss bank Credit Suisse, which is now a subsidiary of UBS after a government-facilitated takeover, posted a 3.5 billion Swiss franc ($4 billion) loss, according to a report in the SonntagsZeitung citing insiders at the bank.
Later in the week, the U.S. Labor Department is set to release nonfarm payrolls showing the pace of jobs and wage growth, which could guide the Fed on how to proceed with its monetary policy.