European stock markets fell into the red yesterday as traders began to fret about whether the US and European central banks would fight economic downturns with decisive monetary policies.
In London, the FTSE 100 dropped 1.02% to close at 5,635.28 points, hurt also by disappointing results from energy major BP.
The Paris CAC 40 index gave up 0.87% to 3,291.66 points, while Frankfurt’s Dax 30 edged down by 0.03% to 6,772.26 points. Madrid was 0.94% lower, and Milan fell by 0.62%.
Analysts began to wonder if the central banks would provide substantial monetary stimulus despite remarks last week by European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi, as US data pointed towards a possible pick-up in activity.
“We think there is plenty of scope for disappointment,” said Paul Dales at Capital Economics.
“We doubt the Fed is ready to sanction a third round of large-scale asset purchases today, while the ECB’s bark could prove louder than its bite,” he said.
On Thursday, Draghi had pledged to do whatever was necessary to protect the euro.
In foreign exchange deals, the euro nonetheless rose to $1.2316 from $1.2259 in New York late Monday.
US markets were mixed as a two-day monetary policy meeting at the
Federal Reserve got underway.
In midday trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was off by a slight 0.09% at 13,061.77 points.
The S&P 500 was essentially unchanged at 1,385.70, while the tech-rich Nasdaq had gained 0.31% at 2,955.02.
Dick Green at Briefing.com noted that most economists now expect that the central bank’s Federal Open Market Committee will hold off on any additional easing measures until at least September.
In the US, consumer confidence has risen to a three-month high, and higher home prices suggest the Fed might not have to implement a third round of quantitative easing, or the printing of money to encourage business activity.
Tomorrow, the ECB and the Bank of England unveil their latest monetary policy decisions, as both grapple with the eurozone debt crisis.
“As the important events get closer, the sunny optimism that suggested policymakers would unveil impressive new measures has been replaced by nagging uncertainty,” said analyst Chris Beauchamp at traders IG Index.
The Fed gathering comes after the US government reported last week that growth in the world’s biggest economy slowed to 1.5% in the second quarter from 2.0% in the first, stoking hopes of new action.
But “although the Fed is facing weaker macroeconomic readings, they are not as weak to make a convincing case for a significant change in its policy,” said trader Anita Paluch at Gekko Global Markets.
A quick look at corporate shares showed that BP tumbled 3.97% to 426.79 pence, one of the leading losers on the FTSE 100 board after the oil group’s second-quarter results plunged into the red.
The energy giant reported a net loss of $1.39bn in the three months to June, owing to lower output, falling oil prices and a near $5bn (€4.1bn) writedown on the value of its assets.
In Frankfurt however, Deutsche Bank edged up by 0.12% to €24.87 even though its net profit was nearly halved by the eurozone debt crisis in the second quarter.
Germany’s biggest lender, which also announced layoffs, said its net profit fell to €661mn ($811mn) in the April-June period from €1.2bn a year earlier.From Gulf Times.