European shares climbed sharply at the open Friday, rebounding from the previous day’s losses, after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen laid out a case for an interest rate hike by the end of the year. In Asia, however, stock markets were mostly down, with China’s Shanghai Composite Index ending the day 1.6 percent in the red.
The pan-European STOXX 600 was up 3 percent in early trade, while London’s FTSE 100 was trading up 2.4 percent. Germany’s DAX, which fell sharply Thursday in the wake of the emissions scandal engulfing Volkswagen, also recovered, and was up 2.8 percent. France's CAC 40 index was trading up 3.2 percent.
“With equities having sold off following the Fed’s decision to leave rates on hold last week, the bullish (market) ... reaction suggests investors would prefer the Fed to get on with it and raise rates sooner rather than later,” Mike van Dulken, analyst at Accendo Markets trading group, told Agence France-Presse.
Stock futures on the S&P 500 were up 0.43 percent while on the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq index, they were trading up 0.55 percent and 0.46 percent, respectively.
Volkswagen shares were also up 2 percent -- before losing ground to be up 1 percent -- amid reports that the company was planning to name Matthias Mueller, the head of its Porsche sports car brand, as the new CEO. Stocks of rival carmakers BMW and Daimler also rose during Friday’s trade.
Yellen’s speech Thursday, where she said that it might be “appropriate” to raise interest rates sometime later this year, also gave the dollar a boost. The dollar index, which weighs it against a basket of major currencies, rose 0.3 percent to 96.63. The U.S. currency had earlier hit a three-week low after the Federal Reserve failed to hike rates last week.
In Asia, though, markets were less upbeat. While Chinese and South Korean stock indexes both finished the day in the red, Japan’s Nikkei 225 closed up 1.8 percent but down over 1 percent in the holiday-shortened two-day trading week.