Investors looked ahead to Thursday’s meeting of the European Central Bank, which is expected to debate when to withdraw bond purchases and other stimulus for economies that use the euro. “Attention will be on whether the policymakers start to taper asset purchases, especially in light of recent stronger-than-expected inflation data,” Anderson Alves of ActivTrades said in a report.
London and Frankfurt declined in early trading while Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong closed higher. Wall Street futures were higher as U.S. markets prepared to reopen after a three-day weekend. On Tuesday, Australia’s central bank said weekly bond purchases that pump money into the financial system will be reduced by 20% but that level will be extended through at least mid-February instead of November, as previously planned. The bank said it expects economic output to decline this quarter but said that should be temporary.
The Bank of Canada issues its policy update Wednesday. Central bankers in Poland, Malaysia and Russia also are to meet. In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London lost 0.2% to 7,170.64 and Frankfurt’s DAX declined 0.2% to 15,898.66. The CAC 40 in Paris shed less than 0.1% to 6,740.72.
On Wall Street, futures for the benchmark S&P 500 index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up less than 0.1%. On Friday, the S&P 500 fell 0.1% on disappointing August hiring data but was near a record high. The Dow fell 0.2% while the Nasdaq composite rose 0.2% to a record. In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.5% to 3,676.59 after August exports grew faster than expected.
Customs data showed Chinese export growth accelerated to 25.6% over a year earlier from July’s 19.3%, beating expectations of about 17%. Import growth rose to 33.1% from the previous month’s 28.1%. “Asian equities are breathing a sigh of relief, and oil prices have moved higher,” Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a report. The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo gained 0.9% to 29,916.14 after July wages rose 1% over a year earlier, accelerating from the previous month’s 0.1%.
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