Global shares were mostly lower Wednesday as investors looked cautiously ahead to a key policy update from the U.S. Federal Reserve later in the day.
France’s CAC 40 was little changed but inched down less than 0.1% to 5,510.52. Germany’s DAX edged up 0.1% to 12,163.90, while Britain’s FTSE 100 slipped 0.3% to 7,621.38.
U.S. shares were set to drift higher with Dow futures up 0.2% to 27,226. S&P 500 futures were up nearly 0.2% to 3,017.20.
Markets were spooked after President Donald Trump on Tuesday accused Beijing of trying to stall in trade talks through the 2020 presidential election in hopes of being able to negotiate with a more malleable Democrat. He said that if reelected, he would get “much tougher” with Beijing.
“They’ll pray that Trump loses,” Trump told reporters. “And then they’ll make a deal with a stiff, somebody that doesn’t know what they’re doing.”
Talks on the tariff war between the two largest economies resumed Tuesday and wrapped up earlier than expected on Wednesday, as U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin headed to the airport without commenting to reporters.
The prolonged trade war between the U.S. and China has been hammering many industries all year and has investors concerned that it will continue to crimp business investment and growth.
In Asian trading, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 0.9% to 21,521.53. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.5% to 6,812.60. South Korea’s Kospi dropped 0.7% to 2,024.55. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 1.3% to 27,777.75, while the Shanghai Composite shed 0.7% to 2,932.51. India’s Sensex edged 0.1% higher to 37,445.33.
Shares fell in Taiwan, Singapore and Jakarta but rose in Bangkok.
The Fed is widely expected to cut its benchmark interest rate for the first time in a decade, hoping that a rate cut now — and possibly one or more additional cuts to follow — could help inoculate the economy against a potential downturn.
“It’s Fed day and I honestly can’t bring myself to repeat what was already said on Monday and Tuesday other than ‘Yes, the Fed will cut but it won’t be enough,’ ” according to RaboResearch.
North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast Wednesday, South Korea’s military said, its second weapons test in less than a week. North Korea is angry over planned U.S.-South Korean military drills and may be trying to boost pressure on the United States to win concessions as the rivals struggle to set up talks over the North’s nuclear weapons.
ENERGY: Benchmark crude oil added 31 cents to $58.36 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose $1.18 to $58.05 a barrel Tuesday. Brent crude oil, the international standard, gained 43 cents to $65.06 a barrel.
CURRENCIES: The dollar inched down to 108.55 Japanese yen from 108.60 yen Tuesday. The euro slipped to $1.1149 from $1.1156.