Global stock markets traded in very narrow ranges Tuesday as investors awaited a speech by the Federal Reserve’s Janet Yellen and ongoing worries over North Korea weighed on sentiment. Oil prices, meanwhile, came off two-year highs amid some modest profit-taking.
KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, London’s FTSE 100 was flat at 7,301 while Germany’s DAX rose 0.1 percent to 12,609. France’s CAC 40 was unchanged at 5,267. U.S. stocks were poised for similarly tepid opening, with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures set for a flat opening.
FED WATCH: Investors were awaiting Yellen’s speech on inflation and monetary policy. Yellen’s not the only Fed speaker Tuesday. Comments from Charles Evans, will also be monitored. Consumer confidence and new homes sales data will also accompany the speeches.
ANALYST TAKE: Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA, said the Fed speakers should make it “an interesting day for the dollar and U.S. yields, particularly as the central bank stood by expectations of one more rate hike at its meeting this month.”
NORTH KOREA: Investors are also keeping a close watch on developments surrounding North Korea after the country’s top diplomat said a weekend tweet by President Donald Trump was a “declaration of war” and that North Korea has the right to shoot down U.S. bombers. Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said by tweeting that North Korea’s leadership led by Kim Jong Un “won’t be around much longer,” Trump “declared the war on our country.” The White House pushed back on Ri’s claim, saying, “We have not declared war on North Korea.”
ASIA’S DAY: Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 lost 0.3 percent to 20,330.19 and the Shanghai Composite Index was unchanged at 3,343.58. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained just under 0.1 percent to 27,517.13 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 lost 0.2 percent to 5,671.00. India’s Sensex shed 0.3 percent to 31,535.50 and Seoul’s Kospi declined 0.3 percent to 2,374.32.
ENERGY: Oil prices have been advancing strongly on a variety of reasons including supply concerns and growing talk that major oil producers are delivering their promised production cuts. On Tuesday, oil prices faltered slightly as traders book some profits with benchmark U.S. crude down 26 cents at $51.96 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract soared $1.56 on Monday to close at $52.22. Brent, which is used to price international oils, 58 cents to $58.44 in London. It jumped $2.01 the previous session to $58.43.
CURRENCY: The euro was down 0.5 percent at $1.1783 while the dollar was up 0.2 percent at 111.92 yen.