US markets pointing toward positive start to the week

Business

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. markets are pointing higher before the opening bell Monday as leaders of the Group of Seven economic powers pledged financial, humanitarian and other support for Ukraine.

Futures for the Dow Jones industrials gained 0.4% while futures for the S&P 500 rose 0.5% after it had its best day in two years Friday.

Conferring by video link with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Group of Seven leaders were finalizing a deal to seek a price cap on Russian oil, raise tariffs on Russian goods and impose other new sanctions. Details were to be sorted by finance ministers, according to a senior U.S. official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to preview announcements from the summit.

Markets seemed unfazed by the possibility that Russia may have defaulted on its foreign debt for the first time since the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, further alienating the country from the global financial system amid its war in Ukraine.

Russia faced a Sunday night deadline to meet a 30-day grace period on interest payments originally due May 27. But it could take time to confirm a default.

In Europe at midday, Germany’s DAX gained 0.8%, while the CAC 40 in Paris picked up 0.1% and Britain’s FTSE 100 advanced 0.7%.

In Asian trading, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index led regional gains, surging 2.4% to 22,229.52, while the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo gained 1.4% to 26,871.27. In South Korea, the Kospi climbed 1.5% to 2,401.92.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 1.9% to 6,706.00 while the Shanghai Composite index rose 0.9% to 3,379.19.

Positive news about inflation helped push stocks in New York higher on Friday, but the boost to sentiment may prove ephemeral, “largely because the downward trend for equity indices remains intact and we have seen previous instances of a single event pertaining to inflation, economic outlook and central banks’ policies bringing back market jitters and reversing dip-buying sentiments,” Jun Rong Yeap of IG said in a commentary.

The S&P 500 notched a 6.4% gain last week, though it’s still close to 20% below its record set early this year. On Friday, it gained 3.1%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2.7%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq ended 3.3% higher.

The Russell 2000 of smaller company stocks added 3.2%.

To beat down punishingly high inflation, central banks are raising interest rates and taking other measures that hurt prices for investments and could slow the economy enough to cause a recession.

The International Monetary Fund on Friday downgraded its forecast for U.S. growth in 2022 to 2.9%, down from 5.7% in 2021 when the economy was bouncing back from the pandemic recession. But it said the U.S. could narrowly avoid recession with careful policy adjustments.

In other trading, the price of U.S. benchmark crude oil gained 41 cents to $108.03 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained $3.35 on Friday to $107.62.

Brent crude oil, the pricing standard for international trading, gained 72 cents to $109.82 per barrel.

The dollar rose to 135.31 Japanese yen from 135.11 yen on Friday. The euro climbed to $1.0576 from $1.0554.

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