Global stocks decline ahead of Fed meeting
Global stocks declined Tuesday as investors awaited this week's US Federal Reserve meeting, expecting possible insights into the state of global growth and future Fed moves.
In early trading, Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.6 percent to 6,136.50, France's CAC40 fell 0.5 percent to 4,482.50 and Germany's DAX shed 0.4 percent to 9,945.74. On Monday, the DAX rose 1.4 percent and the CAC-40 and FTSE both added 0.4 percent. On Wall Street, futures for the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 index both declined 0.4 percent.
Tokyo's Nikkei 225 lost 0.7 percent to 17,117.07 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng declined 0.7 percent to 20,288.77. Sydney's S&P ASX 200 fell 1.4 percent to 5,111.40 and India's Sensex retreated 0.9 percent to 24,580.54. Seoul's Kospi was off 0.1 percent at 1,969.97 and Taiwan, Singapore, Bangkok and Jakarta also fell. The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.2 percent to 2,864.37 and New Zealand also rose. 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.
"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 HighFrequency Economics in a report.
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.
The dollar slipped to 112.99 from 113.79 yen. The euro edged up to $1.1108 from Monday's $1.1105. 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.