European stock markets advanced on Thursday, building on the previous session’s gains, despite a fresh wave of fears in the energy sector.
It came as a key gas supplier exited the market, causing concern that the UK could be facing further energy firm collapses.
The company CNG, which is backed by commodities giant Glencore (GLEN.L), said it will no longer supply gas to its utilities clients.
Paul Stanley, chief executive of CNG, said “the company has been forced into an impossible position” after many of its energy customers ceased trading.
Last night two more energy firms – Colorado Energy and BP-backed Pure Planet – also went bust, affecting some 250,000 customers.
Pure Planet said it had been caught between rising costs and the UK's energy price cap, which restricts what companies can charge consumers.
It said the crisis had left its business "unsustainable" and that “rules prevented us from covering our costs”.
The two firms’ collapse now brings the total number to 14 so far this year, with more than 2 million customers affected.
Watch: Glencore-backed CNG underpins deepening energy crisis as it seeks bids within days
It came as US jobless claims fell below 300,000 last week to a fresh pandemic low. There were just 293,000 initial claims, a fall of 36,000 compared with the previous week (on a seasonally adjusted basis).
This was the lowest level for initial claims since 14 March this year.
On Wednesday, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq managed to end a three-day losing streak after CPI numbers came in more or less in line with expectations.
US inflation rose to 5.4% in September, up from 5.3% in August. Economists had expected another 5.3% reading.
This prompted a small selloff in the US dollar, as well as a flattening of the yield curve as US 10-year yields fell back, and US 2-year yields popped higher.
“With yesterday’s Fed minutes now out in the open, the nature of the discussions appears to suggest that tapering will begin before the end of this year, with the only debate as to whether it will start in mid-November, or mid-December,” Michael Hewson of CMC Markets said.
He added: “Fed officials did acknowledge that the higher levels of inflation, while being driven by the various supply chain blockages, would probably be significantly more persistent than was previously envisaged.
“These disruptions, along with the increase in energy prices is likely to keep inflation expectations elevated for quite some time to come, a trend that markets appear to be underestimating.”
Asian markets mostly rose on Thursday as China said factory-gate inflation hit its highest level in a quarter of a century in September, due to a rise in commodity costs and increased demand as economies reopen.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei (^N225) climbed 1.5% while Sydney, Seoul and Manila followed suit.
Watch: What is inflation and why it is important?