Market Update & Important Indicators
U.S. stocks edged higher intraday ahead of a coming Federal Reserve policy decision, putting major indexes on track for record closes. Stock trading has been relatively muted in recent sessions, as easing geopolitical concerns and steady global growth have given investors few reasons to unload stocks. The subdued trading environment continued, with the S&P 500 on track to notch its smallest intraday range since December 2013. Investors appeared to be holding off on making new bets ahead of the Fed's upcoming policy announcement. Many expect the central bank to announce Wednesday that it will keep rates unchanged and that it will start slowly unwinding its $4.5 trillion balance sheet. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 52 points, or 0.2%, to 22383 in recent trading. The S&P 500 added 0.1%, and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.1%. The S&P 500 telecommunications sector climbed 1.9% on Tuesday, among the biggest gainers in the broad index. The U.S. gold price traded higher overnight, gaining 0.3% to close at 1,310.70 US$/oz.
European stocks swung between small gains and losses, with investors staying cautious ahead of this week's Federal Reserve meeting that will be scrutinized for hints on future U.S. monetary policy. The Stoxx Europe 600 index ended marginally higher at 382.12, after trading in a relatively tight range during the session. Traders in Europe were waiting for the Federal Reserve to provide its policy update on Wednesday, which could affect multiple asset classes, such as stocks globally, currencies and gold. The two-day meeting kicks off on Tuesday. The central bank is widely expected to keep rates on hold, but to start unwinding its $4.5 trillion balance sheet. Germany's DAX 30 index ended slightly higher at 12,561.79, while France's CAC 40 index gained 0.2% to 5,237.44. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index rose 0.3% at 7,275.25.
In Asia, a number of stock indexes moved back and forth across Monday's settlement levels, failing to find direction. Japan's Nikkei Stock Average was the exception, gaining nearly 2% after a public holiday Monday. Meanwhile, Hong Kong equities eased after Monday's surge to a fresh two-year high, with the Hang Seng Index skidding 0.4% to 28,051. The China-focused H-Shares index retreated 0.6%. Malaysian stocks trended lower, ending the session near the day's weakest, at a one-week low, tracking broad weakness in the region. Singapore shares ended lower, with The Straits Times Index ended 0.5% lower at 3225.95, trimming its year-to-date gains to below 12%.
Australian stocks couldn't hold on to early gains as a recovery in recent days by major banks lost steam. The fade mirrored modest retreats from early gains seen in much of the region. The S&P/ASX 200 eased 0.1% to 5713.6 with only the materials and telecom sectors ending higher. As Commonwealth Bank lost 0.5%, TPG Telecom and New Hope stood out with respective gains of 5.2% and 3.9% following their fiscal year reports.
The London Metal Exchange’s 3-month copper contract traded higher overnight, gaining 0.2% to finish at $6,539/t. The other base metals finished mixed. Nickel prices lost 0.8% to 11,070/t, while aluminium prices jumped 1.7% to close at 2,096/t. Lead prices again rose 1.4% to close at 2,398/t, whilst Zinc prices eased by 0.1% to 3,125/t. Tin prices pulled back 0.4% to finish at 20,760/t.
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