Global markets traded in narrow ranges Thursday ahead of a raft of U.S. economic data that could impact on market expectations over when the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates again.
KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, Germany’s DAX was more or less unchanged at 10,380 while the CAC 40 of France fell 0.2 percent to 4,361. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was outperforming its peers, trading 0.5 percent higher at 6,701. U.S. stocks were poised for a solid opening with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures up 0.2 percent.
U.S. FOCUS: How U.S. markets open could hinge on retail sales and producer price data before the bell. The figures come ahead of next week’s Fed policy meeting. Uncertainty over the Fed’s intentions has roiled markets over the past few days. The prevailing view now is that a rate hike next week is unlikely but that the central bank will indicate that a December increase is on the cards.
ANALYST TAKE: “The data is unlikely to influence the outcome of next week’s Fed decision at this stage but it could affect whether they move in December,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA.
BANK OF ENGLAND: The Bank of England kept its main interest rate unchanged at a record low of 0.25 percent after a run of better-than-anticipated news in the wake of the country’s decision in June to leave the European Union. In a statement accompanying the widely anticipated decision to keep policy unchanged, the Monetary Policy Committee conceded that news on the near-term momentum of the economy had been “slightly to the upside” relative to its most recent projections. It noted a “less negative” near-term outlook for the housing market and better than anticipated consumption data.
ASIA’S DAY: Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 tumbled 1.3 percent to 16,405.01 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.6 percent to 23,335.59. Sydney’s S&P ASX 200 rose 0.2 percent to 5,239.90 and India’s Sensex edged 0.1 percent lower, to 28,354.92. Exchanges in Shanghai, Seoul and Taipei were closed.
OIL PRICES: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 25 cents to $43.83 per barrel in electronic trading the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 37 cents to $46.23 in London.
CURRENCIES: The euro was flat at $1.1250 while the dollar fell 0.1 percent to 102.26 yen.