USA stocks close higher ahead of Fed meeting

Posted September 19, 2017

Posted: Sep. 18, 2017 8:00 am Updated: Sep.

European stock markets traded slightly lower on Tuesday, with investors staying cautious ahead of this week's Federal Reserve meeting that will be scrutinized for hints on future US monetary policy.

Consumer prices advanced 1.5 percent year-on-year in August, faster than the 1.3 percent increase seen in July. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 6.17 points, or 0.10 percent, to 6,454.64.

Jack Ablin of BMO Private Bank told AFP investors likely now expect the Fed will brush aside concerns about economic damage from back-to-back hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and raise interest rates for a third time later this year.

The latest U.S. data, released on Friday, raised some concern that recent hurricanes, notably Harvey and Irma, also hit the strength of the economy.

Analysts said the franc could weaken further against the euro too as long as the United States continued to favor a diplomatic solution in the standoff with North Korea. "The political heat will also rise in Germany and New Zealand ahead of weekend elections".

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is considering calling a poll for as early as next month to take advantage of his improved approval ratings and disarray in the main opposition party, according to government and ruling party sources.

The single currency also hit its highest level against the Swiss franc since January 15, 2015, when the Swiss central bank dropped the franc's cap against the euro.

Minutes from the Reserve Bank of Australia's recent meeting showed there was confidence in the resilience of the country's labour market, although it still expected wage growth to remain slow. All are expected to leave policy unchanged but forecasters expect Australian policymakers to strike a more hawkish tone following stronger recent economic activity.

The Dow rose as advances in shares of General Electric and those of Caterpillar, recently up 2.2 percent and 1.9 percent respectively, outweighed declines in shares of Apple and those of Nike, recently down 1 percent and 0.7 percent respectively.

India's BSE Sensex 30 edged higher by 0.5 percent to ₹32,438.81, while Nifty 50 climbed 0.6 percent to ₹10,151.

In London, FTSE 100 dipped 0.05%, weighed by Paddy Power Betfair PLC (LON:PPB), whose shares plummeted 1.61% after the betting company was forced to apologize for allowing customers to bet on a dead former footballer becoming a manager. Economists have expected the next rate increase to come in December.

That nudged MSCI's index of world stocks to a new all-time high while futures prices pointed to a new record high on Wall Street.

Bitcoin dropped for an eighth straight day close to $3,000 and was on track for its worst week since 2013 after a 25 percent drop since Monday, as China closed another bitcoin exchange and as fears grew of a broader crackdown.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 36 cents to $50.27 a barrel while Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, advanced 17 cents to $55.67. It added 15 cents on Friday.