Global stock markets were mostly lower on Thursday as investors awaited President Donald Trump's announcement on his choice to lead the Federal Reserve. Some markets were pressured by investors locking in profits from recent gains.
KEEPING SCORE: Britain's FTSE 100 was flat at 7,487.22 while Germany's DAX fell 0.2 percent to 13,444.80. France's CAC 40 was also flat at 5,514.46. Futures augured a tepid start on Wall Street. S&P futures slipped 0.2 percent while Dow futures dipped 0.1 percent.
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FED WATCH: The Federal Reserve kept its interest rates steady at their low levels as widely expected. It upgraded its outlook for the U.S. economy, saying that the world's largest economy is rising "at a solid rate," a term stronger than "moderate" rate used in September. That reinforced the belief the Fed will hike interest rates in December. President Donald Trump is expected to name a successor to Fed Chair Janet Yellen later Thursday. At a Cabinet meeting Wednesday, Trump indicated it would be a "new head," not Yellen. "I think you'll be extremely impressed by this person," Trump said, according to a White House transcript of the meeting.
ANALYST'S TAKE: "Market participants are waiting for the nomination of the next Fed chair to assess future monetary policy shifts," said Margaret Yang Yan, a market analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore. "Current Fed governor Jerome Power is believed to be the most promising candidate, who will likely bring certainty and consistency to the rate hike path."
ASIA'S DAY: Asian markets closed mostly weaker. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 bucked the trend in the region, gaining 0.5 percent to 22,539.12. South Korea's Kospi fell 0.4 percent to 2,546.36, ending a four session winning streak. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index shed 0.3 percent to 28,518.64 while the Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.4 percent to 3,383.31. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 edged 0.1 percent lower to 5,931.70. Stocks in Singapore elsewhere in Southeast Asia were mixed.
OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 28 cents to $54.02 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract settled at $54.30 per barrel on Wednesday, down 8 cents. Brent crude, the international standard, fell 25 cents to $60.24 per barrel in London. It fell 45 cents to $60.49 on Wednesday.
CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 114.03 Japanese yen from 114.17 yen late Wednesday. The euro rose to $1.1638 from $1.1621, and the British pound weakened to $1.3242 from $1.3245.