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Stocks mostly advance as Evergrande fears recede

European and Asian stocks mostly rebounded on Friday as risks of contagion from troubled Chinese property giant Evergrande eased.

“Equity markets are back on the rise as investors shrug off their recent concerns,” said Geir Lode at investment manager Federated Hermes.

Evergrande has made a key offshore interest payment a day ahead of a weekend deadline, Chinese state media said on Friday, averting a default for now.

The crisis at one of the nation’s biggest property developers, which is drowning in $300 billion of debt, has hammered investor sentiment and fuelled fears of a spillover into the wider economy.

Evergrande’s share price jumped more than four percent in Hong Kong, though that came a day after a drop of more than 12 percent sparked by its announcement that the planned sale of its property services unit had fallen through.

In foreign exchange on Friday, the British pound briefly hit a 20-month high versus the euro on increased expectations that the Bank of England will lift its main interest rate next month to combat high inflation.

The single currency took a knock also from a survey showing the eurozone economic recovery losing steam.

“The ongoing pandemic means supply chain delays remain a major concern,” warned Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit which carries out the purchasing managers’ index measuring corporate confidence.

Elsewhere, bitcoin fell as profit-takers moved in after the digital currency hit a record $66,976 this week.

The world’s leading cryptocurrency has taken another step towards mainstream status as bitcoin forayed onto Wall Street.

A bitcoin futures exchange-traded fund, a type of financial instrument, launched this week on the New York Stock Exchange.

The new fund is a more accessible vehicle that puts bitcoin within the grasp of even more investors.

US stocks opened mixed on Friday, with the Dow nudging higher while the S&P 500, which finished at a record on Thursday, shed a 10th of a percentage point.

The Dow set a new intra-day high this week as companies report third-quarter earnings.

Last month stocks took a tumble as investors worried about persistent supply chain problems that are stoking inflation and which are pushing monetary policymakers to begin to wind down economic stimulus measures.

But corporate earnings have largely beat expectations with many companies having been able to pass along price hikes and maintain profits.

Before trading began on Friday, the broad S&P 500 index was up 1.75 percent for the week, but analyst Patrick J. O’Hare said this was not the story.

“The real story is that it is up 5.6 percent for the month, having wasted little time in reclaiming last month’s losses and then some,” he said, noting that stocks from all sectors had risen.

– Key figures around 1330 GMT –

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.4 percent at 7,215.63 points

Frankfurt – DAX: UP 0.7 percent at 15,577.94

Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.8 percent at 6,740.73

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.8 percent at 4,190.78

New York – Dow: UP less than 0.1 percent at 35,628.16

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.3 percent at 28,804.85 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng Index: UP 0.4 percent at 26,126.93 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.3 percent at 3,582.60 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1637 from $1.1628 at 2050 GMT

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3784 from $1.3794

Euro/pound: UP at 84.46 pence from 84.26 pence

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 113.80 from 114.02 yen

Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.8 percent at $85.31 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.0 percent at $83.35 per barrel