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Global stocks lower as traders await central bank statements

LONDON – Global stocks fell Monday ahead of policy decisions by the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan, and a raft of earnings statements from major companies.

KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, France’s CAC 40 slipped 0.6 per cent to 4,545 while Germany’s DAX fell 0.7 per cent to 10,298. Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 0.7 per cent to 6,263. U.S. shares were also set to open lower, with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures down 0.1 per cent.

CENTRAL BANKS: Central bank policy meetings in Japan and the U.S. are the focus of investors’ attention this week. Traders will be assessing whether the Japanese central bank enacts a further stimulus and whether the Fed suggests that another rate hike is imminent given the calmer tone in financial markets.

ANALYST TAKE: “We could be in for another rocky week in the markets with particular focus back on the central banks as we get the latest monetary policy decisions from the Federal Reserve and Bank of Japan, the latter of which is expected to announce new stimulus measures,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA.

EARNINGS: Corporate earnings statements pick up a real head of steam this week. Among this week’s notable reports are BP, Fiat Chrysler, Procter & Gamble, Airbus, Amazon and Time Warner. Around a third of the S&P 500 are due to report.

ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 dipped 0.8 per cent to 17,439.30. South Korea’s Kospi inched down 0.1 per cent to 2,014.55. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.8 per cent to 21,304.44, while the Shanghai Composite dropped 0.4 per cent to 2,946.67. Markets were closed in Australia for ANZAC Day, a public holiday.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 40 cents to $43.33 a barrel in New York. It lost 55 cents to $43.18 a barrel on Friday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 34 cents to $44.77.

CURRENCIES: In currency markets, the euro rose 0.3 per cent to $1.1260 while the dollar fell 0.7 per cent to 111.05 yen.