Asia stocks muted on Fed concerns, Europe gains

Associated Press
A man stops at a crossing outside a securities firm in Tokyo, Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013. Asian stock markets mostly flitted between gains and losses Wednesday after an improvement in U.S. service industries reinforced expectations the Federal Reserve will reduce monetary stimulus that has propelled stocks higher. (AP Photo/Junji Kurokawa)
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A man stops at a crossing outside a securities firm in Tokyo, Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013. Asian stock markets mostly flitted between gains and losses Wednesday after an improvement in U.S. service industries reinforced expectations the Federal Reserve will reduce monetary stimulus that has propelled stocks higher. (AP Photo/Junji Kurokawa)

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — World stock markets were mixed Wednesday, with benchmarks in Asia flitting between gains and losses after an improvement in U.S. service industries reinforced expectations the Federal Reserve will reduce monetary stimulus. European markets gained.

The Institute for Supply Management's services index rose in October despite forecasts it would soften due to last month's partial shutdown of the U.S. government. Investors concluded that it makes it more likely that the Fed will start reducing its bond purchases, which have kept interest rates low, within a few months.

Major European benchmarks were up in early trading. Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.1 percent to 6,756.56. Germany's DAX rose 0.4 percent to 9,041.89 and France's CAC-40 climbed 0.7 percent to 4,284.17.

Futures augured a positive open on Wall Street. S&P 500 futures were up 0.4 percent at 1,764.20 and Dow Jones futures gained 0.4 percent to 15,614.

In Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng was barely changed at 23,036.94 and China's Shanghai Composite shed 0.8 percent to 2,139.61. Benchmarks in Singapore, South Korea and the Philippines were slightly lower.

Japan's Nikkei 225 defied the narrow trading range in Asia, reversing early losses to close up 0.8 percent at 14,337.31.

"Nobody is buying," said Francis Lun of GE Oriental Financial Group in Hong Kong. "I think the biggest news globally is the IPO debut of Twitter tomorrow," he said.

Other analyst say investors remain cautious ahead of possible market moving data and policy meetings this week.

They include the European Central Bank meeting on Thursday where it may foreshadow a further reduction to record low interest rates and the advance estimate of U.S. third quarter economic growth due the same day. U.S. October jobs figures are due on Friday.

China's leaders are also scheduled to meet in Beijing from Nov. 9-12 to craft a new blueprint for the world's No. 2 economy as its state-led growth model runs out of oomph.

Benchmark crude for December delivery was up 59 cents at $93.96 in electronic trading at the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.25 to $93.37 a barrel on Monday.

In currencies, the euro rose to $1.3510 from $1.3476 late Tuesday. The dollar rose to 98.53 yen from 98.51 yen.

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