European stock markets started the day mixed on Wednesday after closing at three-month highs on Tuesday.
In London, the FTSE 100 (^FTSE) outperformed against its continental peers, rising 0.5% after opening. The CAC (^FCHI) tumbled 0.2% in Paris, and the Frankfurt DAX (^GDAXI) was 0.3% lower.
It came as Germany’s private sector activity continued to decline in November while business activity in France shrank for the first time since February 2021.
Across the pond on Wall Street, S&P 500 futures (ES=F) were flat, Dow futures (YM=F) were also treading water, and Nasdaq futures (NQ=F) were 0.1% lower as trade began in Europe.
On Tuesday, US stocks ended the session with gains as traders look ahead to a smaller interest rate rise from the Federal Reserve later on Wednesday. At its last meeting, the central bank hiked interest rates as expected by 75 basis points.
Michael Hewson of CMC Markets said: “Recent commentary from some Fed members has leant into the idea that rate hikes from hereon in are likely to be of a lesser magnitude, with this week’s publication of the Fed minutes likely to shed some light into how many FOMC members are becoming concerned about policy lags and the impacts of such lags on the US economy, although Bullard’s recent comments about a terminal rate of over 5% suggest there is some scope for divergence on this.
“With Fed chair Powell keen to impress on the market that he wants to limit the scale of advances in the equity market, it will be interesting to see how many other Fed officials share that view, and whether it is reflected in the minutes.”
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Traders will also be looking at US weekly jobless claims a day early due to the Thanksgiving Day holiday onThursday, which is expected to remain steady near 225,000.
The dollar also remained subdued against the pound (GBPUSD=X).
Stocks in Asia saw positive gains on Wednesday despite rising COVID cases in mainland China spooking investors.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei (^N225) climbed 0.6% while the Hang Seng (^HSI) also rose 0.6% in Hong Kong, and the Shanghai Composite (000001.SS) ended 0.3% higher.
Australian shares also pushed higher on the day, with most gains coming from mining and resources companies as a result of higher oil prices.
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