European stock markets recovered their poise Thursday after earlier retreats in Asia as investors relaxed over the prospect of further U.S. interest rate rises.
KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, France's CAC 40 and Germany's DAX were steady at 5,512 and 12,388 respectively. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was up 0.3 percent at 7.536. U.S. stocks shed 0.2 percent to 5,499.30 and Germany's DAX fell 0.4 percent to 12,340.45. Britain's FTSE 100 was almost flat at 7,512.28. U.S. stocks were set for a flat opening too with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures up 0.1 percent.
FED RATE HIKE: On Wednesday, the Fed signaled its confidence in the U.S. economy by raising a key interest rate for a third time this year. It lifted its short-term rate — a benchmark for many consumer and business loans — by a quarter-point to a range of 2 percent to 2.25 percent and hinted at another hike in December and further increases next year. It also dropped the word "accommodative" to describe its monetary policy stance, though Fed Chairman Jerome Powell sought to downplay that move. "Our economy is strong," he said. "Growth is running at a healthy clip, unemployment is low. The number of people working is rising steadily, and wages are up. Inflation is low and stable, all of these are very good signs."
ANALYST TAKE: "Ultimately the Fed's actual policy path will be dependent on the economic data, and if the slowdown is too sharp then three rate hikes in 2019 could be too optimistic," said Kathleen Brooks, research director at Capital Index.
ITALY BUDGET: Another point of interest, particularly in Europe, centers on the Italian government's budget. Economy minister Giovanni Tria is facing pressure from the two governing parties to balance promises made during this year's election and commitments the country needs to abide to as a member of the eurozone.
ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 dropped 1.0 percent to 23,796.74. South Korea's Kospi, which reopened after a national holiday, added 0.7 percent to 2,355.43. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index slipped 0.4 percent to 27,715.67. The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.5 percent to 2,791.77. Australia's S&P ASX 200 was 0.2 percent lower at 6,181.20.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 68 cents to $72.25 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange while Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 44 cents to $81.78 per barrel.
CURRENCIES: The euro fell 0.3 percent to $1.1708 while the dollar rose 0.1 percent to 112.86 yen.