Global shares mixed as investors await Fed meeting minutes

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Global shares were mixed Wednesday as investors awaited the release of minutes from a March meeting of the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee to obtain clues about the chances of interest rate hikes in coming months.

KEEPING SCORE: Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.5 percent to 6,120.38. Germany's DAX shed 0.2 percent to 9,531.39, while France's CAC 40 rose 0.4 percent to 4,266.36. U.S. futures augured a positive opening on Wall Street, with Dow futures up 0.2 percent at 17,560 and S&P futures up 0.3 percent at 2,043.75.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 closed 0.1 percent lower at 15,715.36. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was up 0.2 percent at 20, 206.67, while China's Shanghai Composite fell 0.1 percent to 3,050.59. Australia's S&P ASX 200 gained 0.4 percent to 4,945.90. South Korea's KOSPI rose 0.4 percent to 1,971.32, while Taiwan's benchmark TAIEX index fell 1.7 percent to 8,513.30. Southeast Asian markets were mixed.

ANALYST VIEWPOINT: Stephen Innes, a senior trader at OANDA, said there was a lot of interest in the release later Wednesday of the minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee meeting following a statement by International Monetary Fund head Christine Legarde that the pace of the global economic recovery is "too slow, too fragile." He said "it will be more a case of traders deciding if the Fed is very dovish or extremely dovish, so dealers will likely split hairs on this debate post release."

CHINA SERVICES: The Caixin services purchasing managers' index (PMI) for March rose to 52.2 from February's 51.2. Despite the slight boost, services companies took a cautious approach to staff numbers, with the first fall in services sector employment since August 2013, said Caixin, a media group providing financial and business news.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude was up $1.07 at $36.96 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, rose 89 cents to $38.75 per barrel.

CURRENCIES: The U.S. dollar inched up to 110.46 yen from 110.31 yen the previous trading day. The euro fell to $1.4115 from $1.4163.