Global stocks flat as investors await Fed meeting outcome

Reuters

Asian stock markets were little changed on Wednesday as investors took to the sidelines ahead of the Federal Reserve's announcement of the result of its meeting. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.1 percent.

ANALYST TAKE: "While we're not expecting any surprises out of the meeting, in terms of another rate hike for example, we should learn a lot about how the Fed plans to tighten monetary policy going forward and that will determine how USA yields and the dollar respond", said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA.

WALL STREET: Major U.S. benchmarks finished mostly higher.

Cable dropped 0.4 percent to $1.3537 as of 10:39 a.m. London.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 39.45 points, or 0.18 percent, to 22,370.8, clocking its sixth straight record close.

MSCI's World index, which tracks stocks in 46 countries, was up 0.1 percent and hit another record, while U.S. Treasuries prices gained slightly.

Markets are pricing in a 56% probability of the Fed raising rates in December.

Stocks are a tough call because investors don't like rising interest rates, however, if the Fed is dovish, stocks should soar which would hurt demand for lower-risk assets like gold.

CENTRAL BANK WATCH: In Europe, investors are monitoring a speech by Bank of England Governor Mark Carney for confirmation that the bank expects to raise interest rates in coming months for the first time in a decade. Both indexes closed at new record highs as the market extended gains from last week.

The Nasdaq composite lost 5.28 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,456.04.

The double-whammy of Irma and Harvey could shave as much as 0.5 percent off of US GDP in the third quarter, as businesses are disrupted, energy prices rise and hiring weakens.

It rose more than 1 percent last week. The benchmark Kospi slid 3.85 points or 0.16 percent to 2,412.20, dragged down by chemical companies and retailers.

The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 6.68 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,461.32, also squeaking out a record closing high, slightly above its September 13 close.

A threat by US President Donald Trump to "totally destroy" North Korea also helped to push the dollar lower while stimulating demand for gold, seen as a safe investment in times of uncertainty.

The dollar rose to 112.38 yen from 111.50 yen on Tuesday.

"If we move closer to a U.S. rate hike, that should come along with a bit more dollar strength and euro weakness which would harden the ECB's exit case and be a headwind for government bonds", said Commerzbank strategist Rainer Guntermann. Platinum for October fell 9.9 dollars, or 1.03 percent, to settle at 951.2 dollars per ounce.

Brent crude, used to price global oils, gained $1.15, or 2.1 percent, to $56.29 a barrel in London.

USA crude oil prices slipped below $50 per barrel but stayed close to multi-month highs as refineries in Texas continued to restart after Hurricane Harvey.

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