LONDON: Europe’s major stock markets slid and the euro dipped Thursday with investors cautiously awaiting the latest interest rate decisions in Britain and the eurozone.
The US Federal Reserve had hiked borrowing costs as expected on Wednesday, adding to subdued sentiment in the final round of central bank decisions this year.
At 1200 GMT, the Bank of England (BoE) announces its latest interest rate call, followed by the European Central Bank (ECB) at 1245 GMT.
The BoE, headed by Canadian Mark Carney, is expected to leave its key interest rate at 0.50 percent, as it keeps a watchful eye on high inflation.
ECB president Mario Draghi is meanwhile set to avoid talk of further reducing its massive support to the economy.
“Christmas is coming and the Federal Reserve, European Central Bank and Bank of England are not in the mood to change policy direction until the New Year,” said ETX Capital analyst Neil Wilson.
London stocks fell 0.2 percent in morning deals Thursday as investors looked past official data showing that retail sales rebounded 1.1 percent in November from October, buoyed by Black Friday price reductions.
Frankfurt and Paris witnessed deeper losses, shedding 0.6 and 0.5 percent in value respectively.
– Traders subdued –
“Equity markets are mildly in the red (in Europe) this morning after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates last night, but they were not overly hawkish in their outlook. This has led to traders being subdued,” said CMC Markets analyst David Madden.
The US Federal Reserve on Wednesday lifted borrowing costs as expected and said economic growth would be stronger than initially forecast, while inflation would also improve. It also said its projections for three more rate rises next year were on course.
Citing the strong labour market and solid economy, the Fed’s policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee increased the key lending rate to 1.25-1.5 percent, an increase of a quarter point on the cost of loans for everything from houses to cars.
Asian stocks mostly fell Thursday as traders ignored another record finish for the Dow on Wall Street and eyed gyrations in the dollar.
The dollar was hit overnight by selling after the much-anticipated Fed meeting provided little to excite buyers, despite tentative hopes US lawmakers are on course to push through market-friendly tax cuts.
Adding to nervousness among traders was the Republicans’ shock loss in the Alabama senate election, which narrowed their majority to just two — fuelling concern that President Donald Trump will struggle to push through many of his promised reforms.
– Key figures around 1130 GMT –
London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.2 percent at 7,479.17 points
Paris – CAC 40: DOWN 0.5 percent at 5,373.28
Frankfurt – DAX 30: DOWN 0.6 percent at 13,046.80
EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.3 percent at 3,571.16
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.3 percent at 22,694.45 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.2 percent at 29,166.38 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.3 percent at 3,292.44 (close)
New York – DOW: UP 0.3 percent at 24,585.43 (close)
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1824 from $1.1828 at 2200 GMT
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3344 from $1.3415
Dollar/yen: UP at 112.75 yen from 112.56 yen
Oil – Brent North Sea: UP five cents at $62.49 per barrel
Oil – West Texas Intermediate: DOWN four cents at $56.56