European markets were modestly higher on Friday as investors continue to assess the trajectory of monetary policy after some tough statements from U.S. Federal Reserve officials.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 was up 0.4% in early trade, with utilities climbing 1.4% to lead gains as most sectors advanced. Tech stocks fell 0.6%.
Global markets took some heart from lower-than-expected consumer and wholesale inflation prints last week, prompting bets that the central bank would have to slow its aggressive interest rate hikes.
However, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said Thursday that “the policy rate is not yet in a zone that may be considered sufficiently restrictive.”
Bullard suggested that the terminal federal funds rate could reach the 5% to 7% range, higher than the market is currently pricing.
Global investors are closely tracking key economic data points for hints as to how central banks around the world will act as they look to rein in inflation.
The European blue chip index closed lower on Friday as geopolitical tensions remained in the foreground amid the fallout from a missile hitting Polish territory.
Meanwhile, the U.K. announced a new fiscal strategy centered on tax hikes and spending cuts as the government looks to plug a massive hole in its public finances.
U.S. stock futures were mixed in early premarket trade as investors weighed the prospect of higher interest rates, and shares in Asia-Pacific were also uncertain, as Japan’s core consumer price index for October rose at its fastest annual pace in 40 years.