European stocks in narrow ranges ahead of Yellen speech

AP News
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Posted: Mar 29, 2016 8:12 AM
European stocks in narrow ranges ahead of Yellen speech

LONDON (AP) — Following a long weekend, European stock markets are trading in fairly narrow ranges Tuesday ahead of a speech from U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.

KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, France's CAC 40 added 0.6 percent to trade at 4,356 but Germany's DAX was steady at 9,850. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was also flat at 6,104. U.S. stocks were poised for a tepid open too with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures down 0.2 percent. U.S. stock markets had returned from the Easter break on Monday and recorded minimal gains.

FED FOCUS: The main focus of attention in markets Tuesday is likely to be a speech later from Yellen. Investors are unsure about the Fed's interest rate intentions, specifically over whether it may follow up last December's rate hike with another one in the next few months. Now that the early year turmoil in markets appears to have run its course, there are growing expectations that the Fed may decide to raise interest rates soon. Much could well depend on this Friday's nonfarm payrolls data for March. The figures often set the market tone for a week or two after their release.

ANALYST TAKE: "Her comments are likely to be followed very closely, especially given the more hawkish tone we've had from a number of other policy makers over the last week," said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 0.2 percent to finish at 17,103.53. South Korea's Kospi added 0.6 percent to 1,994.91. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.1 percent to 20,366.30, while the Shanghai Composite dipped 1.3 percent to 2,919.83. Other regional markets, such as Taiwan, Singapore and the Philippines, were lower.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 80 cents to $38.59 a barrel in New York while Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 79 cents to $40.08 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The euro was flat at $1.1197 while the dollar edged up 0.1 percent to 113.57 yen.