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Wall Street opens lower, heading for another month of losses

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are opening lower on Wall Street again, on pace to close out another losing month.

The S&P 500 was off 0.5% in the early going Friday. The benchmark index is heading for its sixth weekly loss in the last seven, one of its worst months since the 2020 coronavirus crash and its third straight losing quarter.

Bond markets were showing more calm than they had recently, as bond yields relaxed.

Nike stock plunged to one of the worst losses on Wall Street after it said it had to slash prices to clear suddenly bloated inventories.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

Wall Street pointed toward small gains before the open early Friday after investors got more ominous inflation data from Europe as they waited for a U.S. government report on consumer spending.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were 0.1% higher and futures for the S&P 500 rose 0.3% after the benchmark fell to its lowest level in almost two years on Thursday.

Wall Street will turn its attention Friday to a consumer spending report from the Commerce Department that could give some insight on the most recent inflation levels.

Last month’s report showed that consumer prices rose 6.3% in July from a year earlier after posting an annual increase of 6.8% in June, the biggest jump since 1982. Falling energy prices helped ease bring prices down in July, raising hopes that the surging costs of everything from gasoline to food may have peaked.

There is some lingering hope that the Fed might signal a moderation in rate increases if inflation were to show further signs of easing.

In the United States, the Commerce Department’s personal consumption expenditures (PCE) index is less well known than the Labor Department’s consumer price index (CPI).

But the Fed prefers the PCE index as a gauge of inflationary pressures, partly because the Commerce index attempts to measure how consumers adjust to rising prices by, for example, substituting cheaper store brands for pricier name brands.

Shares of Dow component Nike Inc. slid 11% in premarket trading after the footwear and apparel company reported late Thursday that inventories swelled 44% from a year ago.

Global stocks were mixed Friday after a report showed that inflation in the 19 countries that use Europe’s euro currency spiked to a record and data from China said that factory activity weakened there.

Inflation in Germany, France and other euro zone countries accelerated to 10% in September from the previous month’s 9.1%, the statistics agency Eurostat reported. That was the highest since record keeping for the euro began in 1997.

Investors increasingly worry the global economy might tip into recession following aggressive interest rate hikes this year by the U.S. Fed and central banks in Europe and Asia to cool inflation that is at multi-decade highs.

Markets slid this week after British Prime Minister Liz Truss announced plans for tax cuts that investors worry will push inflation higher. Meanwhile, global export demand is weakening and Russia’s attack on Ukraine has disrupted oil and gas markets.

“We’d be inclined to argue that we haven’t yet seen the bottom,” ING economists said in a report.

On Thursday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said the world’s fourth-biggest economy faces a “double whammy” from inflation and surging energy prices.

In midday trading, the FTSE 100 in London rose 0.2% and Frankfurt’s DAX advanced 0.3%. The CAC 40 in Paris added 0.6%.

On Thursday, the S&P 500 fell 2.1% to its lowest level in almost two years after strong U.S. jobs data reinforced expectations the Federal Reserve will stick to plans for more interest rate hikes.

The Dow slid 1.5% and the Nasdaq composite lost 2.8%.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.6% to 3,024.39 after surveys of manufacturers showed factory production, new export orders and manufacturing employment declined in September.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo fell 1.8% to 25,937.21 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 0.5% to 17,257.08. The Kospi in Seoul lost 0.7% to 2,155.49.

Sydney’s S&P ASX 200 sank 1.2% to 6,474.20 while India’s Sensex advanced 1.8% to 57,421.45. New Zealand and Southeast Asian markets declined.

Stock markets and the value of the British pound rebounded Wednesday after the Bank of England said it would buy government bonds to support their price. But markets resumed their slide Thursday after Truss shrugged off criticism and defended her tax-cut plan despite a plea from the International Monetary Fund to reverse course.

The S&P 500 is on track to end September with an 8% loss for the month. It is down more than 20% for the year as investors wait for a break in inflation that has prompted the Fed to raise interest rates five times.

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