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Wall Street closed out its most punishing week since the 2020 coronavirus crash with a meandering day of trading Friday that left it a bit higher. The S&P 500 rose 0.2%. That was nowhere near enough to make up for big earlier losses, and the index fell to its tenth drop in the last 11 weeks. Markets around the world have shuddered as investors adjust to the bitter medicine of higher interest rates that central banks are increasingly doling out. Higher rates can bring down inflation, but they also risk a recession by slowing the economy and push down on investment prices.
Shares are mostly lower in Asia, with only Shanghai rising, after stocks tumbled on Wall Street on expectations central banks will focus on battling inflation with interest rate hikes. The S&P 500 dropped 2.4% and benchmarks across the Atlantic also declined on Thursday when the European Central Bank said it would raise rates next month for the first time in more than a decade. Wall Street’s losses accelerated late in the day, as investors rushed to make trades before a highly anticipated report on U.S. inflation due Friday morning. Oil prices remained steady at around $120 per barrel.
WNBA star Brittney Griner is easily the most prominent American locked up by a foreign country. But the Phoenix Mercury player’s case is tangled up with that of another prisoner few Americans have heard of. Paul Whelan also has been held in Russia since his December 2018 arrest on espionage charges he and the U.S. government say are false. Whelan was left out of a prisoner exchange in April that brought home yet another detainee, Marine veteran Trevor Reed. That resolution escalates pressure on the Biden administration to avoid a repeat scenario of another one-for-one swap that does not include Whelan, a corporate security executive from Michigan.
The Ukrainian footballers exempted from military service are trying to complete the mission to lead their country to the World Cup. Hanging in their locker room in Cardiff will be a flag sent by soldiers to inspire them to victory in the playoff final against Wales on Sunday. It's signed with messages from those fighting in the Donetsk and Luhansk region. It was there inside Hampden Park, Glasgow on Wednesday when Scotland was beaten in the playoff semifinals. Since then, the players have continued to exchange messages with friends who have been defending their homeland.
Stocks ended another bumpy week with more losses Friday as investors considered the downside of the still-strong U.S. jobs market. The S&P 500 fell 1.6%, marking its eighth losing week in the last nine. Losses in big technology companies helped pull the Nasdaq down 2.5%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 1%. A report showing stronger hiring last month than expected is good news for the economy amid worries about a possible recession. But many investors saw it keeping the Federal Reserve on its path to hiking interest rates aggressively. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.95%.