Global stocks decline ahead of Fed meeting

BEIJING, China – Global stocks declined Tuesday as investors awaited this week’s U.S. Federal Reserve meeting, expecting possible insights into the state of global growth and future Fed moves.

KEEPING SCORE: In early trading, Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.6 per cent to 6,136.50, France’s CAC-40 fell 0.5 per cent to 4,482.50 and Germany’s DAX shed 0.4 per cent to 9,945.74. On Monday, the DAX rose 1.4 per cent and the CAC-40 and FTSE both added 0.4 per cent. On Wall Street, futures for the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor’s 500 index both declined 0.4 per cent.

ASIA’S DAY: Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 lost 0.7 per cent to 17,117.07 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng declined 0.7 per cent to 20,288.77. Sydney’s S&P ASX 200 fell 1.4 per cent to 5,111.40 and India’s Sensex retreated 0.9 per cent to 24,580.54. Seoul’s Kospi was off 0.1 per cent at 1,969.97 and Taiwan, Singapore, Bangkok and Jakarta also fell. The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.2 per cent to 2,864.37 and New Zealand also rose.

WATCHING THE FED: The Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee meets Tuesday and Wednesday. Investors don’t expect a rate hike but are watching for indications of possible future Fed moves. In December the Fed raised interest rates for the first time in almost a decade, but it left them unchanged in January.

ANALYST’S TAKE: “The most anticipated item on the U.S. economic calendar this week is the FOMC meeting, even though policy will almost certainly be left on hold. With no change in rates, the focus will be entirely on forward guidance,” said Jim O’Sullivan of High-Frequency Economics in a report.

JAPAN CENTRAL BANK: The Bank of Japan left its monetary policy unchanged Tuesday but downgraded its assessment of conditions in the world’s third-largest economy, citing risks from weaker growth in China and other emerging economies and volatility in financial markets, among other factors.

CURRENCY: The dollar slipped to 112.99 from 113.79 yen. The euro edged up to $1.1108 from Monday’s $1.1105.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude shed 82 cents to $36.36 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.32 on Monday to close at $37.18. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 84 cents to $38.69 per barrel in London. On Monday, the contract declined 86 cents to $39.53.