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Markets Right Now: European stocks up ahead of central banks

NEW YORK, N.Y. – The Latest on financial markets. All times local.

12 p.m.

European stock markets have eked out some modest gains as traders await the latest policy statements from the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan.

Both banks will have made their announcements before European markets reopen on Thursday so there’s seemingly some hope among investors in Europe that something positive will emerge.

Investors will be monitoring to see if the Fed indicates whether an interest rate hike in June is more likely and whether the Bank of Japan announces further stimulus measures.

Among the major indexes, Germany’s DAX closed 0.4 per cent higher at 10,299.83 while the CAC-40 in France rose 0.6 per cent to 4,559.40. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares ended 0.6 per cent higher at 6,319.91.

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11:45 a.m.

U.S. stocks indexes are mostly lower in midday trading as weakness in the technology sector pulls the broader market down.

Apple sank 6 per cent Wednesday a day after reporting its first revenue decline in 13 years, while Twitter plunged 14 per cent after issuing a disappointing outlook.

Utility companies rose as bond yields fell, making the sector less appealing to investors seeking income.

Energy companies moved higher along with the price of oil.

The Dow Jones industrial average edged up 12 points, less than 0.1 per cent, to 18,003.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slipped two points, or 0.1 per cent, to 2,089. The Nasdaq composite dropped 39 points, or 0.8 per cent, to 4,848.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.90 per cent.

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9:35 a.m.

Stocks indexes are mostly lower in early trading as weakness in the technology sector pulls the broader market lower.

Apple sank 7 per cent Wednesday a day after reporting its first quarterly revenue decline in 13 years, while Twitter plunged 16 per cent after reporting revenue that fell short of forecasts and issuing a disappointing outlook.

Energy companies bucked the downward trend and moved higher along with the price of crude oil. Diamond Offshore Drilling gained 4 per cent.

The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 11 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 17,978.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was little changed at 2,091. The Nasdaq composite dropped 23 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 4,863.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.90 per cent.

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11:00 a.m.

European stocks are subdued and Wall Street is expected to dip on the open, as investors await the U.S. Federal Reserve’s statement after its latest policy meeting.

Britain’s FTSE 100 is down 0.3 per cent at 6,268.63 while Germany’s DAX is up 0.1 per cent to 10,267.21. France’s CAC 40 also edged 0.1 per cent higher, to 4,538.12. Dow and S&P futures are both down 0.3 per cent.

Investors are monitoring volatility in oil prices, where the New York rate this week hit the highest level since November, as well as the Fed’s meeting.

The Fed is expected to leave its policies unchanged later today at the end of its policy meeting. But traders will look for any comment about the likelihood of a rate hike at its next meeting in June.

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5:30 a.m.

Asian stocks are mostly lower Wednesday as an overnight surge in oil prices raises questions about the outlook for the energy sector.

Investors are watching for the outcome of policy meetings by the U.S. Federal Reserve and Bank of Japan. The Fed is expected to leave interest rates unchanged, while the Bank of Japan could take new steps to stimulate Japan’s economy.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 0.4 per cent to 17,290.49. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.4 per cent to 21,312.12. The Shanghai Composite index fell 0.4 per cent to 2,953.89. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 shed early gains, slipping 0.6 per cent to 5,253.50.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 50 cents to $44.54 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, added 58 cents to $46.32.

The euro rose to $1.1307 from $1.1297 on Tuesday. The dollar fell to 111.17 yen from 111.32 yen.