TOKYO – European shares were mostly higher but Asian markets were mixed Wednesday as investors watched for news from a U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting.
France’s CAC 40 rose 0.5 percent to 4,495.43 in early trading, and Germany’s DAX gained 0.7 percent to 10,000.94. Britain’s FTSE 100 added 0.5 percent to 6,167.55.
U.S. markets looked set for a tepid start, with both Dow and S&P 500 futures flat.
Investors around the world are waiting for the U.S. Federal Reserve’s Open Markets Committee remarks on interest rates and the economy on Wednesday. The Consumer Price Index report also is due for release.
“The big question rattling around markets is when will the Fed act again?” said Stephen Innes, senior trader at OANDA Asia Pacific. “This concern has traders in ‘cautious mode’ across Asia today as the FOMC meeting looms large on their radar screens.”
China’s National People’s Congress wrapped up its ceremonial annual session with repeated reassurances that Beijing has the slowing economy under control but, as expected, without major policy changes. It is unclear if the event did much to dispel fears over the economy’s slowing momentum.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped 0.8 percent to close at 16,974.45. South Korea’s Kospi added 0.3 percent to 1,974.90. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost nearly 0.2 percent to 20,257.70, while the Shanghai Composite index rose 0.2 percent to 2,870.43. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.2 percent to 5,119.00. Shares were higher in Taiwan and Singapore but lower in Indonesia.
Benchmark U.S. crude rose 65 cents to $36.99 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 84 cents to $36.34 on Tuesday. Brent crude, the benchmark used to price international oils, gained 51 cents to $39.25 per barrel in London.
The euro slipped to $1.1092 from $1.1100. The dollar recovered to 113.60 yen from 113.16 yen.