World stock markets largely retreated Wednesday amid concerns that the Federal Reserve could push up interest rates in the coming months despite weak global growth.
London: World stock markets largely retreated Wednesday amid concerns that the Federal Reserve could push up interest rates in the coming months despite weak global growth.
Eyes were on the release of the minutes of the US central bank`s late-July meeting, slated for 1800 GMT, for hints of how bullish the Fed is on the US economy after a top official warned Tuesday that markets were underestimating the possibility of a rate increase as early as September.
London stocks got some support from encouraging unemployment figures -- the British rate was unchanged at 4.9 percent and job-loss claims dropped in July despite the country`s shock vote in June to pull out of the European Union, which is expected to hurt economic growth and investment.
But US stocks sagged as key retailers Target and Staples reported disappointing sales in the second quarter, dragging down the broader sector.
Tokyo was the only riser among leading stock markets, lifted by a weaker yen, according to traders.
At the close, London`s benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 0.5 percent, Frankfurt`s DAX 30 shed 1.3 percent, and the Paris CAC 40 lost 1.0 percent from Tuesday.
Tokyo`s benchmark Nikkei 225 index climbed 0.9 percent, snapping a two-day losing streak as a drop in the haven yen currency lifted exporters.
The dollar was slightly stronger in major pairings, showing a little support from the market after William Dudley, head of the Fed`s New York branch, said a rate hike was possible next month and that Wall Street investors were too "complacent" about the prospect of higher rates.
"Because of Dudley`s comments, today`s release of the minutes will carry even more weight than it usually does and certainly will have the potential to be a decent market mover," said Markus Huber, a trader at City of London Markets.
The pound was only marginally down against the dollar amid relief over the British jobs data.
"The number of people claiming unemployment benefit surprisingly fell in July despite the Brexit vote," said Phil McHugh, trading floor manager at Currencies Direct.
"It is welcome relief for sterling which has come under constant pressure recently and the market will now look towards (UK) retail sales data tomorrow for further feedback."London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.5 percent at 6,859.15 (close)
Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 1.3 percent at 10,537.67 (close)
Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 1.0 percent at 4,417.68 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 1.2 percent at 2,980.54 (close)
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.9 percent at 16,745.64 (close)
Shanghai - Composite: FLAT at 3,109.55 (close)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 0.5 percent at 22,799.78 (close)
New York - DOW: DOWN 0.4 percent at 18,471.66
New York - S&P 500: DOWN 0.4 percent at 2,169.19
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1269 from $1.1277 Tuesday
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3013 from $1.3042
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 100.24 yen from 100.29 yen