Global stock markets edged lower Wednesday as investors treaded carefully ahead of an annual gathering of central bankers.
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KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 0.1 percent at 7,374 while Germany's DAX fell 0.3 percent to 12,192. The CAC 40 in France was 0.2 percent lower at 5,122. U.S. stocks were poised for a soft opening with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures down 0.3 percent.
CENTRAL BANKERS: Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi are among the central bankers due to speak at the symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, this week. With little market-moving news on the calendar, investors will be keen on their speeches scheduled on Friday. The Federal Reserve is raising interest rates and is preparing to pare back the $4.5 trillion it holds on its balance sheet, and investors are wondering when the European Central Bank will follow suit.
ANALYST TAKE: "It's been a slow start to trading on Wednesday, much in keeping with the rest of the week so far, as traders wait in anticipation of the Jackson Hole Symposium which takes place over the next few days," said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA.
EUROPE ECONOMY: A closely watched survey from financial information company IHS Markit indicated that the economic recovery across the 19-country eurozone remained solid. Its main purchasing managers index, a broad gauge of economic activity, rose slightly to 55.8 in August from 55.7 in the previous month, better than expectations for a modest decline. The index is pointing to a second successive quarter of quarterly growth of 0.6 percent. Though the euro rallied after the figures, trading 0.3 percent higher at $1.1787, most market participants think Draghi will be cautious in his remarks Friday.
ASIA'S DAY: Asian stock markets eked out small gains. Japan's Nikkei 225 gained 0.3 percent to 19,434.64 and South Korea's Kospi added 0.1 percent to 2,366.40. But the Shanghai Composite Index edged down 0.1 percent to 3,287.70. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was closed due to a typhoon.
OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 2 cents to $47.67 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange while Brent crude, the international standard, slipped 35 cents to $51.53 per barrel in London.