Stock markets turned higher on Tuesday as investors monitored a slew of corporate earnings reports. A meeting of the Federal Reserve and caution over potential twists and turns in U.S. politics kept most indexes trading within a narrow range.
KEEPING SCORE: Germany’s DAX climbed 0.7 percent to 12,297 and the CAC 40 of France added 1.3 percent to 5,192. The FTSE 100 of Britain jumped 1 percent to 7,449. Shares looked set to drift higher on Wall Street, with Dow futures up 0.4 percent and S&P futures up 0.2 percent.
CORPORATE EARNINGS: General Motors posted a net profit of $1.66 billion, down from a record $2.87 billion a year ago but better than analysts were expecting. Later in the day, investors will be looking at results from the likes of McDonald’s, Caterpillar and Eli Lilly for signs of improvement in business at a time when the global economy is doing relatively well but facing uncertainties, such as over the future of U.S. reform policies.
FEDERAL RESERVE: The Federal Reserve’s policymaking committee begins a two-day meeting on Tuesday, following its decision last month to raise short-term interest rates for the third time since December. The central bank also announced plans to start gradually paring its bond holdings later this year, a move that could cause rates to rise. Most investors expect the Fed to hold rates steady at this week’s meeting and possibly raise them one more time this year.
ANALYST VIEWPOINT: “The summer period can often be a very quiet one for the markets but with the major central banks across the globe waking up from years of extreme accommodation, this has certainly not been the case so far,” Craig Erlam of OANDA said in a commentary.
SOUTH KOREA: The government announced a new economic plan promising to boost incomes and improve the country’s sagging social safety net. But despite an upgrade in the growth forecast for Asia’s fourth largest economy, to 3 percent from 2.6 percent, shares fell as investors cashed in profits after a long spate of record-high closes driven by optimistic expectations for corporate earnings.
ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.1 percent to 19,955.20 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was unchanged at 26,852.05. South Korea’s Kospi sank 0.5 percent to 2,439.90. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 gained 0.7 percent to 5,726.60 and the Shanghai Composite index slipped 0.2 percent to 3,243.69. India’s Sensex added 0.1 percent to 32,261.85. Shares in Southeast Asia were mixed.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 81 cents to $47.15 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 57 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $46.34 per barrel on Monday. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, rose 85 cents to $49.45 a barrel.
CURRENCIES: The euro rose to $1.1672 from $1.1644. The dollar climbed to 111.44 Japanese yen from 111.10 yen and the British pound climbed to $1.3066 from $1.3007.