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European stocks rise, Asia flat as markets await Fed speech

by August 23, 2016 General

European stock markets rose on solid economic data Tuesday while investors in Asia largely stayed on the sidelines ahead of a widely anticipated speech by the Fed chief.

KEEPING SCORE: European stocks advanced in early trading. France’s CAC 40 rose 0.7 percent to 4,420.93 while Germany’s DAX climbed 0.8 percent to 10,582.05. Britain’s FTSE 100 added 0.5 percent to 6,863.07. U.S. stocks were poised to open higher, with Dow futures up 0.2 percent to 18,551.00 and broader S&P 500 futures rising 2,185.40.

EUROZONE REPORT: A survey of businesses across the 19-country eurozone found activity in August expanded at a steady but subdued pace, indicating companies were not overly worried about Britain’s decision to leave the European Union. The IHS Markit survey of purchasing managers at services and manufacturing companies ticked up a notch for the month, helping buoy European investor sentiment .

SUMMER LULL: Global markets have been subdued as investors and traders took summer holidays and major economic data releases revealed no big surprises. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is due to speak Friday at an annual conference of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The Fed is not expected to raise interest rates at its September meeting but Yellen’s comments will be dissected for clues on the likelihood and timing of such a hike.

QUOTABLE QUOTE: “Markets continue to trade eerily quietly in the low-volume low-volatility dog days of the Northern hemisphere summer,” said Angus Nicholson if IG Markets in Melbourne. “The markets seem to be already discounting the possibility that Yellen may look to talk up a September rate hike.”

ASIA’S DAY: The benchmark Nikkei 225 index in Japan slipped 0.6 percent to close at 16,497.36 while South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.4 percent to 2,049.93. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng closed practically unchanged at 22,998.93 and the Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China edged up 0.2 percent to 3,089.71. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.7 percent to 5,553.80. Benchmarks in Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and New Zealand rose. Those in Indonesia and the Philippines fell.

ENERGY: Oil prices extended losses. U.S. benchmark crude dropped 58 cents to $46.82 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost $1.70 to close at $47.41 a barrel on Monday. Brent crude, used to price oil internationally, dropped 52 cents to $48.64 a barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 100.14 yen from 100.34 yen in late trading Monday. The euro strengthened to $1.1333 from $1.1319.