© Reuters. File photo: A man stands on a bridge with an electronic scoreboard displaying stock indices in Shanghai and Shenzhen
LONDON (Reuters) – European stock indices opened lower on Wednesday, as investors focused on the US Federal Reserve meeting and the profits of US tech giants.
The MSCI Global Equity Index, which measures stocks in 49 countries, was down 0.1% at 0842 GMT, after falling last week after hitting a new all-time high on January 21.
In the Asian session on Wednesday, stocks took a hit from some profit taking, as investors worried about the extended valuations.
European stock indices opened in the red. It is down about 0.3% on the day at 0854 GMT.
London prices fell 0.2% while they were down 0.5%.
The dollar rose against a basket of currencies as European markets opened, and was at 90.275 at 0846 GMT, up 0.1% on the day.
The Fed is not expected to make any policy changes, but investors will hear changes in tone around the economic outlook and any mention of a slowdown – or “diminishing” – asset purchases from the Fed.
“The big question will be about any timetable for reducing asset purchases, but Powell is likely to adopt a pessimistic tone about this, and reiterate that it is too early to think about this given the difficult near-term outlook and remaining uncertainties,” German bank (DE 🙂 Strategist Jim Reed wrote in a note to clients.
It settled near the three-week low it hit in the previous session, and broadly settled on the day at 1.0398% at 0846 GMT.
Also in focus is the quarterly earnings from US tech giants, including Facebook (NASDAQ 🙂 and Apple (NASDAQ :), which are slated for later in the session.
“With some financial assets currently traded in what many describe as the bubble area, there will be increased interest in these issues to see if these current valuations are justified,” said Jim Reed of Deutsche Bank.
Despite dropping 0.1%, Nasdaq futures rose 0.4% at 0847 GMT, helped by strong Microsoft (Nasdaq 🙂 gains in the previous session. Microsoft said Azure cloud computing services have grown by 50%.
Increasing participation of retail investors in the stock market has become a focus this week, as amateur traders crowd into Reddit’s R / WallStreetBets stock trading discussion group at GameStop (NYSE :), causing it to spike as professional sellers scramble to cover losing bets.
For some stock market specialists, the recent moves are symbolic of a stock market that may be overestimated at the end of a year dominated by a flood of financial and monetary stimulus to ease the coronavirus crisis.
The International Monetary Fund raised its forecast for global economic growth in 2021, and said the slowdown caused by the Coronavirus last year would be roughly one percentage point lower than expected.
Global COVID-19 cases passed 100 million on Wednesday and countries around the world grappled with new types of the virus and delays in rolling out vaccines.
US President Joe Biden said Tuesday that the United States aims to have sufficient doses of the vaccine to vaccinate most Americans by the summer.
In Europe, supplies of the COVID-19 vaccine have been delayed. Hospitals in France recorded their highest level in eight weeks.
The euro was down 0.1 percent to $ 1.21455 at 0848 GMT, while government bond yields in the euro zone rose slightly.
Gold is down about 0.2%. It decreased by about 3.3%.
Oil prices rose after industry data showed inventories fell unexpectedly last week and China recorded its lowest daily rise in COVID-19 cases in more than two weeks.
To get a fee on the federal balance sheet: