Markets wrap: Stocks, currencies on hold as traders await federal reserve

Markets were largely in a holding pattern Wednesday, with U.S. equities little changed near record levels and the dollar edging lower as investors awaited fresh insight on the path for borrowing costs in the world’s biggest economy.

The S&P 500 Index was sitting at the 2,400 mark, within points of its all-time high. European shares were little changed with emerging-market equities. Moody’s Investors Service reduced its rating on China, triggering declines in industrial metals like copper, nickel, zinc and iron ore. Crude edged higher for a sixth day as OPEC prepared for a key meeting in Vienna.

Moody’s action on China briefly rattled Asian markets. But against a backdrop of strengthening global growth, and with the impending release of minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting, investors appeared to quickly move on. Fed Bank of Philadelphia President Patrick Harker said June “is a distinct possibility” for the U.S. central bank’s second interest-rate increase of 2017.

Here are some key upcoming events:

  • On the data front on Wednesday, notable indicators include U.S. wholesale inventories and existing home sales numbers.
  • Canada releases a monetary policy decision, followed by South Korea on Thursday.
  • OPEC will meet in Vienna on Thursday, with major oil producers edging closer to extending an agreement to curb output.

Here are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • The S&P 500 rose 0.1 percent to 2,401 at 10:41 a.m. in New York.
  • The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose less than 0.1 percent.
  • The MSCI Emerging Market Index gained nearly 0.1 percent.

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index edged lower by 0.1 percent after climbing 0.3 percent Tuesday.
  • The pound was down slightly at $1.2952, continuing a two-day loss. The euro was roughly 0.1 percent higher at $1.1190.

Commodities

  • Nickel slumped 2 percent and copper fell 0.4 percent. Iron ore futures dropped 6.5 percent. China is the top user of materials.
  • West Texas oil rose 0.1 percent to $51.53 a barrel, building on a five-day advance.
  • Gold fell 0.2 percent to $1,253 an ounce, after dropping 0.8 percent on Tuesday.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasury notes rose less than a basis point to 2.29 percent. Bond prices fell during the previous four days.
  • Yields on benchmark French and German benchmark bonds were essentially unchanged.

Asia

  • The Shanghai Composite rose 0.1 percent, reversing a drop of 1.3 percent. The Hang Seng also ended higher after an earlier decline of 0.4 percent.
  • Japan’s Topix index climbed 0.6 percent, while Indonesia’s benchmark index slumped 0.7 percent.
  • The Australian dollar was little changed, paring a drop of as much as 0.5 percent.

Courtesy Bloomberg

Leave a comment