BEIJING, China – Global stocks mostly edged lower on Wednesday as investors awaited the release of minutes to the Federal Reserve’s last meeting for hints on an expected interest rate increase next month.
Sentiment was also fragile in Europe as Paris police carried out a major raid on a suburban apartment linked to the recent terror attacks.
KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, France’s CAC-40 lost 0.7 per cent to 4,905.28 and Germany’s DAX shed 0.4 per cent to 10,929.41. Britain’s FTSE 100 edged down 0.1 per cent to 6,263.06. On Tuesday, the indices had risen strongly.
Wall Street looked set for small gains, with futures for the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor’s 500 index up 0.2 per cent.
FED WATCH: Investors will pore over the minutes to the last Fed meeting, to be released later in the day, for signs that the central bank will raise interest rates next month for the first time in almost a decade. Higher rates tend to weigh on stock markets, but investors have mostly become prepared for the Fed to act in December. “The minutes should reveal that the Fed has come close to ‘lift-off'” said analysts at UniCredit bank.
TERRORISM JITTERS: Investors restored calm in European markets this week following the Paris attacks that left 129 people dead on Friday. Travel and tourism stocks suffered temporarily but markets were unexpectedly resilient. News of another police raid in Paris that resulted in two dead and seven arrests kept investors on edge.
CHINESE OUTLOOK: Earlier, Chinese President Xi Jinping sought to reassure economic and political leaders that his government will keep the world’s No. 2 economy growing. In a speech to a business conference on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, Xi said China is committed to overhauling its economy and raising the living standards of its people. Concerns about a slowdown in the Chinese economy have weighed on global markets this year.
ASIA’S DAY: Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.1 per cent to 19,649.18 and the Shanghai Composite Index fell 1 per cent to 3,568.47. Sydney’s S&P ASX/200 advanced 0.3 per cent to 5,133.10 and Seoul’s Kospi was unchanged at 1,962.88. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.3 per cent to 22,188.26.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 53 cents to $41.22 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract plunged $1.07 on Tuesday to close at $40.67.
CURRENCY: The dollar declined to 123.39 yen from Tuesday’s 123.4090 yen. The euro rose to $1.0671 from $1.0645.