Stocks close out tough quarter on economic fears

LONDON — European markets rose on Friday, gaining some breathing room after a torrid week as the third quarter drew to a close.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 added 1% in early trade, with oil and gas stocks climbing 2.2% to lead the gains as all sectors and major exchanges moved into positive territory.

Global equities have struggled in recent sessions on fears of slowing growth and aggressive monetary policy tightening.

The widespread selling on Wall Street continued Thursday, with all three major averages falling sharply as investors weighed the prospects of future U.S. Federal Reserve rate hike decisions and their impact on markets. The S&P500 reached a new low for the year. Equity futures were mixed in early trade ahead of Friday’s trade.

Asia Pacific Equities also fell on Friday after the overnight dip in the United States, although new data showed Chinese factory activity unexpectedly increased in August.

European investors will focus on Friday’s initial eurozone inflation figures for September, due at 10 a.m. London time, with economists expecting annual consumer prices to have risen by one new record of 9.7%.

Volatility persists in UK markets after the The Bank of England intervened in the bond market on Wednesday to consolidate the country’s financial stability, after a historic sale of long-term gilts. Sterling also hit an all-time low on Monday following the new government’s widely condemned fiscal policy announcements, but has staged a significant rally in recent days.

In the United States, several Fed officials are scheduled to speak on Friday afternoon, and markets will be watching closely for indications as to the pace of future central bank rate hikes.

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