Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Global shares slip ahead of central bank moves

The euro maintained it's place near an eight-week high on Wednesday, helped by expectations the European Central Bank will act decisively to tackle the debt crisis and of more monetary easing in the United States.

But global growth worries weighed on equity markets, dragging world shares lower, while oil prices eased after Hurricane Isaac in the Gulf of Mexico looked set to spare local production facilities from significant damage.

US stock index futures pointed to a slightly lower open on Wall Street on Wednesday.

Moves in major risk asset markets are being limited by hopes that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will signal an easier U.S. monetary policy in a speech to international central bankers gathering in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, at the end of the week.

There is also rising optimism that the ECB, which will meet on September 6, is close to producing a decisive bond-buying plan to bring down high Spanish and Italian borrowing costs, and ease Europe's three-year-old debt crisis.

But with the risk of disappointment on both fronts high, investors were adopting a cautious approach.

Concerns about the global economic outlook were firmly outweighing any potential positive impact of central bank actions in the equity markets, pulling the FTSEurofirst 300 index down 0.4 percent to 1,083.80 points.

The euro area's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index was also down 0.6 percent at 2427.95 points.

A mixed session in Asia, where evidence of slowing activity in China has been weighing on sentiment, left the MSCI world equity index facing a sixth day of losses. It was down 0.1 percent at 323.27 points.

Emerging stocks also hit their lowest levels in nearly four weeks due to the sharp drop in Chinese shares, which are the largest component of the index.

source business-standard com

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