Europe higher, Asia slumps amid expectations Fed rate hike

TOKYO – European stock markets mostly rose in early trading although Asian indexes finished lower Tuesday amid growing expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in June.

KEEPING SCORE: France’s CAC 40 added 1.1 per cent to 4,372.86 in early trading, while Germany’s DAX gained 0.7 per cent to 9,911.97. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.5 per cent to 6,169.23. U.S. shares were set to head higher, with Dow futures up 0.3 per cent to 17,515. S&P futures were also up 0.3 per cent at 2,050.50.

WAITING ON THE FED: Investors are watching for clues on whether the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates next month. That would depend on its assessment of the resilience of the American economy, which impacts global growth. Speeches by several Fed members this week may give insights into what Fed policymakers might do at their meeting in June.

THE QUOTE: It seems “market participants are pining for more clarity after the Fed minutes, released last week, indicated that most members are in favour of a rate hike in June if economic conditions continue to improve,” Bernard Aw of IG said in a client note. “The market wants more affirmation on this, although I would think that the writing is clear enough and what we need is not more rhetoric but hard data.”

ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 0.9 per cent to close at 16,498.76 as the yen continued to strengthen, hurting exporters. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.4 per cent to 5,295.60. South Korea’s Kospi edged down 0.9 per cent to 1,937.68. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.1 per cent to 19,830.43 while the Shanghai Composite index slid 0.8 per cent to 2,821.67.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude shed 29 cents to $47.79 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 33 cents in the previous session. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 39 cents to $47.96 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 109.56 yen from 109.81 yen and the euro fell to $1.1187 from $1.1239.


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