European stocks steady before US rate hike clues

GMT 15:55 2015 Wednesday ,20 May

Arab Today, arab today European stocks steady before US rate hike clues

European stocks
London - AFP

European stock markets steadied on Wednesday, with traders sitting tight ahead of further clues on the timing of US rate rises, analysts said.

London's FTSE 100 index rose 0.14 percent to stand at 7,005.01 points in early afternoon deals.

Frankfurt's DAX 30 fell 0.23 percent to 11,858.59 points and the CAC 40 in Paris dropped 0.19 percent to 5,107.36 compared with Tuesday's close.

The Frankfurt and Paris stock markets had surged on Tuesday after a European Central Bank executive board member signalled that the ECB would temporarily ramp up its stimulus programme aimed at boosting the eurozone economy.

In foreign exchange trading Wednesday, the euro fell to $1.1106 from $1.1149 late in New York on Tuesday.

Traders were awaiting the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve's April 28-29 policy meeting later Wednesday, looking for clues about its plan for lifting interest rates from record lows.

"We're seeing plenty of caution ahead of the open on Wall Street on Wednesday as investors eye the... minutes for further clues on the timing of the first rate hike," said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda trading group.

"Since removing its forward guidance earlier this year, the Fed has offered very little insight into when that first rate hike will come and that is making investors quite anxious, particularly around these kinds of releases."

All eyes were also on the banking industry as British and US regulators prepare to impose huge fines linked to the rigging of foreign exchange markets.

US regulators on Wednesday fined Swiss bank UBS $342 million for manipulation of forex markets, as other global lenders prepared for even larger penalties.

Five major banks including UBS will pay fines totalling billions of dollars for rigging the foreign exchange (forex) market in settlements all expected to be unveiled Wednesday by US and British regulators.

Penalities will range from the hundreds of millions of dollars to $1.0 billion or more, depending on a bank's involvement in the scheme, according to people familiar with the talks.

The other banks set to be hit by fines linked to the forex scandal are American giants JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup and British lenders Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).

In London afternoon deals, RBS shares were up 0.46 percent to 350.10 pence and Barclays won 1.60 percent to 266.90 pence.

UBS shares won 2.98 percent to 20.41 Swiss francs in Zurich.

"While UBS has settled with US prosecutors... we await news on how much Barclays and RBS have to pay," said analysts at Accendo Markets in a note to clients.


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