In European Equity Markets stocks achieved their highest closing level in two weeks on Wednesday, boosted by basic resource and oil stocks, while French aeroplane seat-maker Zodiac fell after its latest profit warning. The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.4 percent at its close. Zodiac was the biggest European faller, after it warned on profit after the close on Tuesday. The company, which engine maker Safran is seeking to acquire, said it sees full-year operating income falling 10 percent against a previous forecast of a 10-20 percent rise. Swedish fashion retailer H&M was also among the biggest fallers, with its shares down more than 5 percent after it posted its first monthly sales decrease in four years.
In Currency Markets the dollar edged lower on Wednesday, as investors awaited a widely-expected interest rate increase from the Fed, but grew cautious about the rate outlook this year given lingering uncertainty with the Trump administration’s fiscal policy. Against the yen, the dollar was flat at 114.74, well below last week’s 115.51 peak, its highest since Jan. 19, as expectations built for the rate increase. The euro rose 0.3 percent to $1.0629, as concern about Wednesday’s Dutch parliamentary election was offset by market speculation the ECB may be ready to wind down its stimulus programme. Sterling was last up 0.4 percent at $1.2202. In late morning trading, the dollar index fell 0.1 percent to 101.57.
In Commodities Markets oil prices on Wednesday climbed for the first time in more than a week on a surprise drawdown in U.S. crude inventories and data from the International Energy Agency (IEA) suggesting OPEC cuts should create a crude deficit in the first half of 2017. Crude inventories fell 237,000 barrels in the week to March 10. Analysts had forecast an increase of 3.7 million barrels. Brent futures were up 1.3 percent, at $51.56 a barrel, its first increase in seven days. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was up 1.6 percent, at $48.48 per barrel, its first increase in eight days. Spot gold was up 0.2 percent at $1,201 an ounce and silver rose 0.3 percent to $16.88 an ounce.
In US Equity Markets stocks were mostly higher on Wednesday, with investors counting down to the conclusion of the Federal Reserve’s two-day meeting, where the central bank is widely expected to raise rates for the first time this year. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.19 percent, at 20,876.33 and the S&P 500 was up 0.28 percent, at 2,372.23. The Nasdaq Composite was up 0.11 percent, at 5,863.20. Nine of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with the energy index’s 1.07 percent rise leading the gainers. Intel fell 1.13 percent after Credit Suisse downgraded the chipmaker’s stock. Twitter was down 2.3 percent after a number of prominent accounts on the microblogging website were hacked.
In Bond Markets the U.S. Treasury yield curve flattened on Wednesday, with two-year yields touching their highest since mid-2009 and long-dated yields falling, as investors braced for a Federal Reserve rate increase and the potential for a more aggressive pace of future hikes. Benchmark 10-year Treasuries prices were last up 1/32 to yield 2.589 percent, from a yield of 2.595 percent late Tuesday. U.S. two-year notes were last down 1/32 in price to yield 1.397 percent, from a yield of 1.380 percent late Tuesday.