Global stocks flat as investors await Fed meeting results

Global stocks flat as investors await Fed meeting results

At a two-day meeting beginning later on Tuesday, the Fed is expected to take another step toward policy normalization and announce plans to begin unwinding its $4.2 trillion portfolio of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities.

At the end of a closely watched two-day policy meeting on Wednesday the Fed left interest rates unchanged as expected and signalled that it is still on track for one more increase by the end of the year despite recent low inflation. Brent crude slipped 0.1 percent to $55.41, not far from an nearly five-month high of $55.99 marked on Thursday.

"It is hard to pass a verdict on the Fed's stance until it actually starts its balance sheet reduction and the markets can gauge its effects", said Kota Hirayama, senior economist at SMBC Nikko Securities in Tokyo. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell almost 0.4 percent to 28,051.41, while the Shanghai Composite dipped 0.2 percent to 3,356.84.

Japan's Nikkei was effectively flat. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index added 0.4 per cent to 28,127.80.

The three major USA stock indexes edged higher on Tuesday, logging record closes, with financial stocks providing the biggest boost.

"Fundamentals continue to support emerging markets including those in Asia, although the Fed's latest stance did add a layer of uncertainty going forward".

"There may be some speculation towards the Fed sounding slightly dovish, but over the last few weeks hawkish rhetoric has come into vogue globally as demonstrated by the Bank of Canada and Bank of England", he said.

Expectations for the Fed to raise interest rates in December have risen since.

In the currency market, the rise in Treasury yields boosted the dollar's attractiveness.

According to CME FedWatch, markets are pricing in a more than 50 percent chance of a Fed hike in December, up from around 31 percent as recently as September 8.

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The greenback was little changed at 111.460 yen after touching 111.880 overnight, its highest since late July.

Trump said in a speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday that the United States will be forced to "totally destroy" North Korea unless Pyongyang backs down from its nuclear challenge.

The S&P 500 .spx lost 0.3 percent, snapping a four-day winning streak, the Dow .dji fell 0.25 percent and Nasdaq .ixic dropped 0.5 percent on Thursday as the US equity market braced for a third interest rate hike this year.

"The market doesn't seem to have any strong risk-off sentiment, even after Trump's comments", said Masashi Murata, currency strategist for Brown Brothers Harriman in Tokyo.

France's CAC 40 inched down less than 0.1 percent in early trading to 5,227.91.

The euro dropped to $1.1873 from above $1.20 just before the Fed's policy announcement.

The Mexican peso pulled back slightly after dropping in response to a strong quake that struck central Mexico.

Crude oil prices steadied as ministers from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and other producers geared up to meet later on Friday to discuss a possible extension of supply cuts.

Higher U.S. yields bolstered the greenback, with the benchmark 10-year note yield notching a one-month high of 2.237 percent overnight.

The dollar was steady at 112.445 yen and on track to end 1.4 percent higher on the week, during which it brushed a two-month high of 112.725 as USA yields spiked on the back of the Fed's hawkish stance.


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