NEW YORK: Stock markets steadied on Tuesday after three days of intense selling as investors waited to see if Turkey, one of the epicenters of the emerging market rout, would hike interest rates to defend its battered lira.
Investors have been shaken this week as jitters about the withdrawal of U.S. monetary stimulus and slowing Chinese growth have amplified country-specific political turmoil, from Turkey to Thailand to Argentina.
The Federal Reserve will start a two-day meeting on Tuesday, after which it is expected to slice another $10 billion off the $75 billion it currently spends each month on buying bonds to strengthen the U.S. economy.
Wall Street stocks were trading higher despite a slide in Apple shares a day after the largest U.S. company by market value reported quarterly earnings.
Asian equities outside Japan steadied and European shares were up the most in nine sessions. A gauge of global equities was up 0.4 percent.
"Emerging markets are doing poorly and that brings you back to the U.S. stock market and that`s why you are seeing buyers come in, with the thought the selloff was an opportunity to re-establish positions," said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.
"I don`t think there will be (contagion) absent something much more material to the investing thesis around the world."
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 57.55 points, or 0.36 percent, at 15,895.43. The Standard & Poor`s 500 Index was up 6.94 points, or 0.39 percent, at 1,788.50. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 0.11 points, or 0.00 percent, at 4,083.72.
Investors poured their cash into developing economies when emergency rate cuts during the financial crisis meant U.S., European and other developed market bonds offered little in the way of interest. They are now pulling it back out as prospects of higher developed-market rates re-emerge.
The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was down 2/32, the yield at 2.7589 percent.
CURRENCIES LESS VOLATILE
The Turkish lira rose for a second day against the U.S. dollar ahead of the interest-rate decision expected at midnight in Istanbul (2200 GMT). It was up 0.7 percent at 2.2635 per dollar, compared with a record low of 2.3900 hit on Monday.
A new Reuters poll showed analysts expect the Turkish central bank to lift rates by 225 basis points despite its reluctance to unsettle Turkish voters ahead of elections this year.
"We think there is room for the central bank to use more conventional monetary policy and that is clearly what the market expects," said Fergus McCormick, head of sovereign ratings for rating agency DBRS.
India surprised markets earlier with a rate hike.
Major currencies weakened against the U.S. dollar after data showed U.S. consumer confidence rose in January as consumers grew more optimistic about both business conditions and the job market.
The euro was down 0.1 percent at $1.3658 and the yen fell 0.4 percent at 102.93 yen to the dollar.
With Turkey expected to raise rates and the move from India`s central bank, more emerging market central banks are expected to tighten policy in a bid to stabilize their tumbling currencies.
Brazil, South Africa and Indonesia - some of which have been dubbed the Fragile Five economies, with a strong reliance on external capital - are main candidates. South Africa`s central bank meets on Wednesday.
In commodities markets, Brent crude oil climbed 0.9 percent to $107.68 a barrel ahead of an expected drop in U.S. distillate inventories as consumers burn heating oil during a bitter northern hemisphere winter. U.S. crude jumped 1.8 percent to $97.43.
First Published: Wednesday, January 29, 2014, 00:48