World shares mixed as markets mull latest Fed statement

By KELVIN CHAN Markets Associated Press

World stocks shares were mixed Thursday as investors digested the latest statements from the Fed, which plans to raise rates again this year, and the Bank of Japan, which signaled it won't tighten anytime soon.

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KEEPING SCORE: European shares rose in early trading. France's CAC 40 added 0.4 percent to 5,262.35 and Germany's DAX climbed 0.2 percent to 12,590.05. Britain's FTSE 100 edged up 0.1 percent to 7,279.01. Wall Street was poised to open lower. Dow futures slipped 0.1 percent to 22,361.00 and broader S&P 500 futures dipped 0.1 percent to 2,502.90.

FED IN FOCUS: At their latest meeting, Federal Reserve policymakers kept short-term interest rates unchanged but said they still expect one more increase this year and three in 2018, if persistently low inflation rebounds. Since December 2015, the Fed has modestly raised the rate four times. Rates had previously been cut to a record low after the 2008 financial crisis, helping to fuel a multiyear global stock boom. Officials also said they plan to start unwinding the U.S. central bank's $4.5 trillion balance sheet next month by reducing its bond holdings, which will gradually increase long-term borrowing rates. The plans were mostly in line with economist expectations.

INVESTOR INSIGHT: "The relatively hawkish statement and unchanged interest rates projections for 2017 and 2018 have forced market participants to adjust their expectations for an interest rate hike in December 2017, from a chance of 50 percent to above 70 percent," said Sayed Hussain, chief market strategist at FXTM.

JAPAN ON HOLD: Officials at Japan's central bank, meanwhile, made no changes to monetary policy, leaving in place stimulus measures to prop up Asia's No. 2 economy. The decision, which was widely expected, was approved in an 8-1 vote, with one new board member unexpectedly dissenting, saying the measures weren't aggressive enough.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.2 percent to close at 20,347.48 as the yen weakened against the dollar, benefiting shares of exporters. But other regional indexes wavered, with South Korea's Kospi slipping 0.2 percent to 2,406.50. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index slipped 0.1 percent to 28,110.33 and the Shanghai Composite in mainland China lost 0.2 percent to 3,357.81. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.9 percent to 5,660.40. Taiwan's benchmark rose and Southeast Asian indexes were mostly lower.

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CURRENCIES: The dollar rallied to a nearly two-month high of 112.27 yen from 112.23 yen on Wednesday. The euro rose to $1.1917 from $1.1892.

ENERGY: Oil futures snapped their rally. Benchmark U.S. crude shed 30 cents to $50.39 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 93 cents, or 1.9 percent, to settle at $50.41 a barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 22 cents to $56.07 a barrel in London.