World stock markets mixed ahead of US Fed meeting
ELAINE KURTENBACH (AP Business Writer)
TOKYO (AP) — Global stock markets traded fitfully Tuesday as investors watched for signs of a possible change in U.S. stimulus efforts by the Federal Reserve.
In early European trading, the FTSE 100 of leading British shares rose 0.4 percent to 6,358.57 while Germany's DAX slipped 0.1 percent to 8,207.36. The CAC-40 in France fell 0.1 percent to 3,860.77.
Shares had advanced Monday on growing expectations that the Fed will maintain its current policy stance when policymakers meet this week. But that optimism appears to be wavering.
"There is still some selling pressure but overall the markets are sidelined. Investors are quite cautious about the Federal Reserve meeting," said Linus Yip, a strategist at First Shanghai Securities in Hong Kong. "The market will wait."
Apart from worries over the outlook for a scaling back of stimulus policies that might adversely affect liquidity in global markets, signs that China's growth has slowed for some time to come are also tempering buying enthusiasm, Yip said.
Futures in New York pointed to a higher opening on Wall Street. Dow Jones industrial futures rose 0.2 percent to 15,151 while S&P 500 futures advanced 0.2 percent to 16,37.20.
Asia's biggest benchmark, Japan's Nikkei stock average, shed early gains to fall 0.2 percent to 13,007.28. Trading volume was the lowest for the year. Sony jumped 4.4 percent following reports that the U.S. hedge fund Third Point LLC has increased its holdings in the electronics company.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was nearly flat at 21,225.88, while South Korea's KOSPI index recovered from early losses to gain 0.9 percent at 1,900.62.
Shares rose in Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia and New Zealand rose. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.2 percent to 4,814.40.
Markets have gyrated in recent weeks on worries the Fed might choose to start cutting back on the volume of its financial asset purchases, which are intended to encourage spending and investment by helping to keep interest rates low.
Investors were spooked when Fed chairman Ben Bernanke suggested the U.S. central bank might ease its aggressive support for the U.S. economy if indicators such as hiring improve. Markets across Asia were hit by sharp drops in share prices as investors pulled back from emerging markets.
A meeting of leaders from the Group of Eight top industrial countries in Northern Ireland appeared to have little impact on the markets given the gathering's main focus on diplomatic issues such as Syria and North Korea.
Oil prices fell ahead of the Fed's meeting, with the benchmark New York rate down 23 cents at $97.54. The contract fell 8 cents to finish at $97.77 a barrel on the Nymex on Monday.
In currencies, the euro rose to $1.3388 from $1.3340 late Monday in New York. The dollar rose to 95.11 yen from 94.86 yen.