Global stock markets rose Tuesday as oil prices gained for a third day and China reported relatively strong industrial output for November. The focus is increasingly turning onto Wednesday’s policy statement from the U.S. Federal Reserve accompanying the central bank’s anticipated first rate hike of the year.
KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, Germany’s DAX advanced 0.6 percent to 11,261 while France’s CAC-40 was up 0.6 percent at 4,791. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.6 percent, too, to 6,930. Wall Street was poised to push onto further record highs, with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures up 0.3 percent.
FED WATCH: Investors expect the U.S. Federal Reserve to hike interest rates when it ends a policy meeting Wednesday. It would be only the second increase in a decade. The Fed has kept rates near zero since the 2008 global crisis but its leaders have indicated the U.S. economy is improving enough to start moving gradually toward normal policy. Low interest rates have helped to boost stock prices but are hurting savers who look for income from bank accounts and bonds.
ANALYST TAKE: “The Fed’s projections and dot plot combined with Chair Janet Yellen’s comments in the press conference could be crucial in determining whether the Santa rally makes it to the new year,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA. “Investors haven’t been easily spooked recently but the prospect of three or four rate hikes next year may be enough to do it.”
DOLLAR ASCENDANT: With expectations growing that the Fed may outline a series of rate hikes next year, the dollar continues to remain in favor. A day ahead of the decision, the euro fell 0.3 percent to $1.0610 while the dollar rose 0.3 percent to 115.28 yen.
CHINA: Economic data for November showed relatively strong activity. Growth in industrial production accelerated to 6.2 percent over a year earlier from October’s 6.1 percent. Retail sales and investment in real estate and other fixed assets also rose. “Another set of broadly positive data suggest that China is on track to end this year on a strong note,” said Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics in a report.
ASIA’S DAY: Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.5 percent to 19,250.52 and the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.1 percent to 3,155.04. Seoul’s Kospi advanced 0.4 percent to 2,035.98 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.1 percent to 22,446.70. India’s Sensex gained 0.7 percent to 26,700.46.
ENERGY: Oil prices rose further in the wake of last week’s decision by non-Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to cut production alongside the previously announced OPEC reduction. Benchmark U.S. crude was up 55 cents at $53.38 a barrel while Brent, the international standard, rose 57 cents, to $56.26 a barrel.