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Stocks, oil price stabilize in European trading after Fed reminds it's on course to hike rates

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TOKYO — Global shares and the price of oil stabilized on Thursday during European trading hours after the Federal Reserve issued a reminder it is still on track to raise interest rates this year.

KEEPING SCORE: Germany's DAX rose 0.2 percent to 10,734.45 and France's CAC-40 gained 0.3 percent to 4,625.36. Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.3 percent to 6,802.70. Wall Street looked set for gains after two days of losses. Dow and S&P 500 futures were up 0.5 percent.

FED MEETING: The Federal Reserve issued its first policy statement of the year, making clear that it would remain "patient" in raising interest rates from near zero, which was expected. But it also strengthened its assessment of the U.S. economy, noting it is expanding at a solid pace and generating strong job growth.

THE QUOTE: "The fact is no one knows when a rate hike will occur," IG's chief market strategist Chris Weston said in a commentary. "And, while the Fed would like to be in a position to raise, the lessons of 1938 still haunt them: raising rates too early caused the second leg of the Great Depression."

EARNINGS: Investors were also keeping an eye on corporate earnings around the world. Oil company Shell saw its shares drop after it warned it would cut spending to cope with the fall in oil prices. Telecoms company Nokia and Germany's Deutsche Bank reported a rise in earnings. In the U.S., the focus will turn to reports from Google, Ford and Amazon, among others.

PHOTO: Trader Gregory Rowe works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015. U.S. stocks moved higher in early trading Wednesday after very strong earnings from Apple and Boeing. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Trader Gregory Rowe works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015. U.S. stocks moved higher in early trading Wednesday after very strong earnings from Apple and Boeing. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

ALIBABA ALARM: In China, news was dominated by a scathing report by regulators accusing e-commerce giant Alibaba of failing to prevent fake goods from being sold on its websites pushed its share price sharply lower. Further muddying the water was a disclosure that the report was delayed to avoid affecting Alibaba's $25 billion New York stock market listing. Alibaba's shares fell 4.5 percent Wednesday.

ASIA SCORECARD: Japan's Nikkei 225 slipped 1.1 percent to 17,606.22 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 1.1 percent to 24,595.85. The Shanghai Composite shed 1.3 percent to 3,262.30. South Korea's Kospi was 0.5 percent lower at 1,951.02. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.3 percent to 5,569.50. Markets in Southeast Asia were mostly lower.

OIL ROUT: Benchmark U.S. oil rose slightly but was near six-year lows after the U.S. Energy Department reported oil inventories rose to their highest levels ever recorded. The contract was up 8 cents to $44.53 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost $1.78 to close at $44.45 a barrel in New York on Wednesday. As recently as June, it traded above $100. Its decline reflects oversupply and weakening growth in major economies.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 118.06 yen from 117.73 yen the previous day. The euro rose to $1.1306 from $1.1286.


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PHOTO: Trader Peter Tuchman works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015. U.S. stocks moved higher in early trading Wednesday after very strong earnings from Apple and Boeing. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
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