Global stocks declined Wednesday ahead of a meeting of U.S. Federal Reserve policymakers and as investors digested solid growth figures from the eurozone. Markets in Japan and Hong Kong were closed for a holiday.
KEEPING SCORE: London’s FTSE 100 retreated 0.3 percent to 7,231 and France’s CAC 40 lost 0.3 percent to 5,290. Germany’s DAX shed 0.1 percent to 12,493. On Wall Street, the futures for the Standard & Poor’s 500 index were down 0.1 percent and those for the Dow Jones industrial average shed 0.1 percent.
FED WATCH: Investors expect the Fed to keep the benchmark U.S. interest rate on hold this month but are looking to a post-meeting statement for signs of when the next increase might come. Markets indicate a 66 percent chance of a hike in June, experts say.
ANALYST’S TAKE: Chris Weston of IG said in a report that economic indicators for the U.S. have been underwhelming of late, so that leaves open the risk that the Fed may look to lower expectations of a hike in June. “Keep in mind the interest rate markets are pricing a 60 percent chance of a hike from the Fed in June, so this probability will move depending on the tone of the statement.”
EUROPEAN DATA: The economy of the 19-country eurozone grew by a quarterly rate of 0.5 percent in the first quarter — a solid figure that outpaces the U.S. but which likely disappointed some investors hoping for an even stronger result. The growth comes despite uncertainty over a series of elections in Europe and is expected to have continued into the spring.
ASIA’S DAY: Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 fell 1 percent to 5,892.30 and the Shanghai Composite Index declined 0.3 percent to 3,135.35. India’s Sensex was unchanged at 29,909.31. Benchmarks in Singapore and Bangkok advanced while New Zealand, Jakarta and Manila declined. South Korean markets also were closed for a holiday.
CURRENCY: The dollar edged up to 112.12 yen from Tuesday’s 111.99 yen. The euro declined to $1.0919 from $1.0929.
ENERGY: U.S. benchmark crude gained 21 cents to $47.87 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract plunged $1.18 on Tuesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 28 cents to $50.74 in London. It lost $1.06 the previous session.