Global stocks mixed ahead of central bank meetings

SEOUL, South Korea – Global stock markets were mixed Tuesday ahead of U.S. Federal Reserve and Bank of Japan policy meetings later this week. Commodity prices ran out of steam, dragging on big miners.

KEEPING SCORE: Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.5 per cent to 6,291.05 and Germany’s DAX added 0.4 per cent to 10,337.23. France’s CAC 40 advanced 0.4 per cent to 4,566.08. Futures indicated that U.S. stocks were set for moderate gains. Dow futures rose 0.3 per cent while S&P futures also added 0.3 per cent.

ANALYST’S TAKE: “After a brief pause, share market volatility is set to resume this week as central bank meetings, important economic releases and U.S. company reporting all offer potentially game changing assessments of the global economy and the fortunes of individual companies,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.

FED WATCH: Investors are not expecting the Federal Reserve to change policy this month but its two-day meeting this week will be watched for indications about its future moves. The result will be announced late Wednesday in Asia and will affect the region’s financial markets on Thursday.

JAPAN WATCH: A string of economic reports are due before the Bank of Japan’s monthly policy meeting on Thursday, including Japan’s consumer price index, unemployment figures, retail sales and industrial production. Expectations are rising that the BOJ will opt for more stimulus.

ASIA’S DAY: Asian markets finished mixed after a weak start. Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.5 per cent to 17,353.28 and South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.3 per cent to 2,019.63. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 0.5 per cent to 21,407.27 but Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 dropped 0.3 per cent to 5,283.60. The Shanghai Composite index finished 0.6 per cent higher at 2,964.70. Taiwan was higher but most markets in Southeast Asia finished lower.

COMMODITIES: The rally in prices for commodities such as iron ore has paused, affecting major Australian miners and others in the sector. Shares in global miner Rio Tinto Ltd. fell 3.1 per cent, while BHP Billiton lost 3.0 per cent.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude added 24 cents to $42.88 per barrel in New York. The contract fell $1.09, or 2.5 per cent, to $42.64 a barrel on Monday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 36 cents to $44.84 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 110.77 yen from 111.12 yen while the euro strengthened to $1.1294 from $1.1268.