US: Stocks surge on easing US inflation 

US STOCKS surged on Wednesday, with the Dow gaining more than 500 points, on better-than-expected inflation data that raised hopes the Federal Reserve might ease up on its aggressive interest rate hikes.

With energy costs dropping in recent weeks, the annual consumer price index dipped to 8.5 per cent in July from a 40-year high of 9.1 per cent the previous month, the Labor Department reported.

And in a big surprise, monthly CPI was unchanged.

Signs that inflation could be coming off the boil in the world's biggest economy could persuade the Fed to move much more gradually. But economists and Fed officials warned against that hopeful view saying inflation is still high, and a third consecutive, 0.75-percentage-point hike remains possible.

"This is just the first hint that maybe inflation is starting to move in the right direction," said Minneapolis Fed chief Neel Kashkari, adding that "we are a long way away from saying that we're anywhere close to declaring victory."

All three major indices closed with big gains.

The Dow Jones Industrial jumped 1.6 per cent to end the day at 33,309.51.

The broad-based S&P 500 surged 2.1 per cent to 4,210.24, and the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index, meanwhile, surged 2.9 per cent to finish at 12,854.81.

Among individual stocks, Disney shares ended 4 per cent higher ahead of its quarterly results posted after markets close, which showed paying-subscribers to its streaming service leapt beyond expectations, as rival Netflix's ranks ebbed.

Netflix shares closed 6 per cent higher.

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global ended the day up 7.4 per cent despite second quarter losses while hotel and casino operator Wynn Resorts, which also saw losses in the same quarter, closed down 1.0 per cent. AFP

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