- November Fed Minutes at 1900 GMT
- Thanksgiving Day in the United States is a public holiday on Thursday
- Stocks are making small gains globally
- Eurozone economic data points to recession
- China has been hit by rising cases of COVID-19
LONDON (Reuters) – Global stocks fluctuated on Wednesday before minutes from a Federal Reserve meeting may shed light on whether the US central bank is considering adjusting its interest rate hike.
Crude oil prices fell as the Group of Seven nations looked at a price ceiling of $65-$70 a barrel on Russian oil, higher than where crude grade is currently traded.
Wall Street was set for a muted start, with little major corporate news to spur trading ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday in the US on Thursday, when markets are closed.
The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates sharply this year in a bid to curb soaring inflation, and the New Zealand central bank earlier on Wednesday increased interest rates by 75 basis points to 4.25%, a harbinger of a potential rally more than the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank. Bank and Bank of England next month.
“There is an expectation that the Fed is probably closer to the end of the rate hike cycle than the beginning, and certainly to the extent that it raises rates, the bulk is behind,” said Mike Hewson, senior market analyst at CMC Markets.
MSCI All Country Stock Index (.MIWD00000PUS) It rose 0.16%, though it’s still down about 18% for the year.
In Europe, Stokes (.STOXX) The 600 index rose 0.3%, leaving it around 10% down for 2022.
Investors have been guided by what they think the Fed will do next, said David Beiser, managing partner at investment director Global Customized Wealth, as signs of a slowdown in the US economy become more apparent.
“The rally in the markets overall in the fourth quarter is driven by this belief that the Fed is waking up to the fact that the pace and magnitude of interest rate increases may have a near-term consequence. This gives markets confidence that this will be the end,” Beiser said.
Data showed that the slowdown in business activity in the eurozone eased slightly in November, but overall demand continued to decline as consumers cut spending amid the cost of living crisis, adding evidence that the currency bloc is entering a recession.
“The result dispels fears of a severe recession and is consistent with a mild technical recession at the start of the year,” ING bank said in a note to clients.
In China, authorities imposed restrictions to rein in a rapid rise in COVID-19 infections, exacerbating investor concerns about the world’s second-largest economy.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan (.MIAPJ0000PUS) It rose 0.5%, supported by overnight gains in US stocks. The index is up 12% so far this month.
“The biggest story for investors in Asia continues to be the reopening of China,” said Suresh Tantia, chief investment analyst at Credit Suisse in Singapore.
“We’ve seen the Chinese markets rise up to 20% but that forecast is being reversed, and we think reopening will be a slower process and not happen quickly.”
On Wednesday, China reported 29,157 new COVID-19 cases on November 22, compared to 28,127 new cases the day before. Case numbers in Beijing and Shanghai have been rising steadily, and remain high in several major manufacturing and export hubs, prompting authorities to close some facilities.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was trading at 3.7799% compared to its US close of 3.758% on Tuesday.
The two-year yield, which rose as traders expected a Fed funds rate hike, came in at 4.5434% compared to the US close of 4.517%.
Ahead of the Fed’s minutes, the dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of other major trading partners, was slightly weaker.
The single euro currency rose 0.17% to $1,032.
“The US dollar has lost some of its recent gains (as) the central bankers’ consensus on how much to raise interest rates is fading,” Commonwealth Bank analyst Tobin Gorrie wrote on Wednesday.
Oil prices rose as data showed a larger-than-expected drop in US crude oil last week, outweighing concerns about lower fuel demand from China.
US crude reversed its previous gains, falling 2.5 percent to $78.92 a barrel, while Brent crude fell 2.4 percent to $85.99 a barrel.
Spot gold was trading at $1,736 an ounce, down 0.2% on the day.
While the FTX crash continues to rattle the cryptocurrency markets, bitcoin is up 2% at $16,483.
Additional reporting by Scott Murdoch in Sydney and Hugh Jones in London; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell, Kim Coghill, Miral Fahmy, and Tomasz Janowski
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