Market Buzz: World waiting to see if US Fed will end stimulus
Asian stocks traded mostly higher on Wednesday due to the positive sentiment on Wall Street. Tokyo's Nikkei added 1.6 percent to reach 15,500 for the first time in over five years, after the Bank of Japan kept its monetary policy unchanged as expected.
Investors will also be eying testimony from Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke due later in the day. European stocks may see a boost amid speculation over whether the Fed will continue its economic stimulus program until next year. Hints emerged that the US may not be ready yet to end its bond-buying program when St. Louis Fed President James Bullard and New York Fed President William Dudley said that low inflation and mixed signals for growth prospects meant an end to stimulus was unlikely.
The US will also publish data on existing home sales, a leading indicator of economic health, and the Fed will publish the minutes of its most recent policy-setting meeting. In addition to the anticipated statement from the Fed chief, more news will follow from other international markets: Japan will release official data on its trade balance, the difference in value between imports and exports.
In the eurozone, Italy and Germany will hold government bond auctions, and EU leaders will gather to hold an economic summit in Brussels. The Bank of England is expected to publish the minutes of its most recent policy-setting meeting, and the UK is also set to release official data on public sector net borrowing and a report on industrial order expectations.
European stocks posted gains on Tuesday: The benchmark Stoxx 600 index ended the session up 0.1 percent at 309.99, Germany's DAX advanced 0.2 percent to 8472.20, France's CAC rose 0.3 percent to 4036.18 and London's FTSE 100 was up 0.7 percent to close at 6803.87.
US stocks closed in the black on Tuesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.34 percent to 15,387.58, the S&P 500 added 0.17 percent to close at 1,669.16, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.16 percent to 3,502.12.
Oil quotations are falling, with both Brent and WTI losing 0.3 percent each; Brent is currently trading at $103.50 and Light is trading at $95.80.