SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Global stock markets were mixed with European stocks getting off to a weak start on Wednesday ahead of the Federal Reserve's decision on interest rates. The Fed was widely expected to announce later in the day an increase in the key policy rate for the first time in a year.
KEEPING SCORE: Britain's FTSE 100 was down 0.2 percent to 6,956.00. France's CAC 40 lost 0.3 percent to 4,787.58 while Germany's DAX fell 0.2 percent to 11,267.92. U.S. markets were set for a tepid opening with Dow futures nearly unchanged and S&P futures also remaining almost flat.
FED WATCH: Investors expect the Federal Reserve to announce a rate hike, the first since December 2015, at the end of the two-day Federal Open Market Committee meeting on Wednesday. Investors will listen for clues about future policy and the economic outlook under President-elect Donald Trump from Fed Chair Janet Yellen's press conference. The central bank has kept rates low since the 2008 financial crisis.
ANALYST'S TAKE: "Against a backdrop of solid U.S. economic data, an improving jobs market and changes that the Trump Administration could potentially bring to the capital market, expectation for a 25 basis points rate hike by the Federal Reserve hit 100 percent several weeks ago," said Margaret Yang of CMC Markets.
ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 finished nearly unchanged at 19,253.61, just a titch above its one-year high close on Tuesday. South Korea's Kospi gained less than 0.1 percent to close at 2,036.87 and India's Sensex was up 0.4 percent at 26,583.98. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index finished almost flat at 22,456.62 but the Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.5 percent to 3,140.53. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.7 percent to 5,584.60. Stocks in Southeast Asia were mixed.
JAPAN TANKAN: The Bank of Japan's quarterly "tankan" survey of more than 10,000 companies found slightly improved confidence among big Japanese manufacturers as the yen has weakened against the U.S. dollar since Trump won the Nov. 8 election. But the survey found most companies expect weaker profits and investment in the coming quarter.
OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 69 cents at $52.29 per barrel in New York. The contract rose 15 cents to close at $52.98 on Tuesday. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 61 cents to $55.11 a barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 115.13 yen from 115.06 yen. The euro weakened to $1.0627 from $1.0635.