Global stock markets were mixed on Tuesday as investors awaited Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen’s testimony to the U.S. Congress.
KEEPING SCORE: Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.8 percent to 7,308 and the CAC40 of France lost 0.3 percent to 5,152. But Germany’s DAX climbed 0.1 percent to 12,461. Wall Street looked set for a lackluster start with Dow and S&P 500 futures both 0.1 percent lower.
YELLEN FACTOR: Traders are looking ahead to potential news out of the Federal Reserve when Yellen addresses Congress on Wednesday and Thursday. Investors will look for clues as to how aggressively the Fed will continue to raise rates and start to unwind its big bond-buying stimulus program. The latest U.S. economic reports, particularly for jobs, have been upbeat.
PAGE TURNER: In corporate news, shares in London-based publisher Pearson fell a sharp 6 percent after the company said it would sell another 22 percent stake in Penguin Random House. That will leave it with only 25 percent, to the 75 percent stake of Germany’s Bertelsmann. Investors seem concerned that Pearson is losing control of a valuable unit in the longer-term.
ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 index gained 0.6 percent to 20,195.48 on expectations the yen will weaken further against the dollar as the central bank strives to keep long-term bond yields low. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 1.5 percent to 25,877.64. The Kospi in South Korea climbed 0.6 percent to 2,396.00 while Australia’s S&P ASX 200 edged 0.1 percent higher to 5,728.90. The Shanghai Composite index yoyo’d and eventually ended the day down 0.3 percent at 3,203.04, while shares in Southeast Asia were mixed.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 45 cents to $43.95 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It added 17 cents to settle at $44.40 a barrel on Monday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 48 cents to $46.40 a barrel.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 114.32 from 114.04 yen late Monday. The euro slipped to $1.1395 from $1.1400.