Global shares steady as focus turns to central banks
Global shares traded in narrow ranges Wednesday as the focus of attention turned towards central bank policy on a day when the U.S. stock market was poised to record its longest-ever bull run.
KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, France's CAC 40 edged up 0.2 percent to 5,417 while Germany's DAX fell 0.2 percent to 12,360. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was 0.2 percent higher at 7,582. U.S. stocks were poised for modest losses at the open with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures down 0.2 percent.
BULL MARKET: On Tuesday, the S&P 500 index briefly traded at an all-time high just as the U.S. stock market's bull run came closer to becoming the longest on record. The current bull market, which began in 2009, is on track to become the longest in history on Wednesday, surpassing the bull run of the 1990s.
CENTRAL BANKS: Aside from that milestone, investors will have a heap of information from central banks, staring Wednesday with the release of the minutes to the U.S. Federal Reserve's last rate-setting meeting. Later this week, central bankers, including new Fed chief Jerome Powell, gather in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, an annual symposium that has often generated market-moving news.
ANALYST TAKE: "While the minutes could pass with little impact due to the clear and transparent nature of the Fed interest rate tightening cycle right now, traders will still pour over the release and look for any clues that the pace could pick up further or could be persuaded to slow down," said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA.
TRADE TENSIONS: Stocks have been buffeted by concerns about mounting trade tensions in recent months between the U.S. and China, set off by President Donald Trump's tariff policies. Signs of potential progress have helped stocks rally in recent weeks.
ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 0.6 percent to finish at 22,362.55. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.3 percent to 6,266.00. South Korea's Kospi rose 0.1 percent to 2,273.33. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.6 percent to 27,921.24, while the Shanghai Composite fell 0.7 percent to 2,714.61.
ENERGY: U.S. benchmark crude rose $1.16 to $67 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 42 cents to $65.84 per barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, gained $1.08 to $73.71 per barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The euro was up 0.4 percent at $1.1614 while the dollar was flat at 110.25 yen.