By Barbara Kollmeyer
European stocks inched up on Wednesday, as investors waited for the outcome of a Federal Reserve policy meeting due later. Miners were lower as China took aim at soaring commodity prices.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP -0.88% rose 0.2%, the German DAX /zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed DX:DAX -1.03% was flat, the French CAC 40 /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 -0.79% was up 0.2%, and the FTSE 100 index /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX -0.91% was up 0.2%.
U.S. stocks /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -0.48% /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -0.91% /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP -0.91% traded flat in early trading, ahead of the outcome of the two-day Federal Open Market Committee meeting and a news conference with Chair Jerome Powell that will come after the close of European markets. The central bank is largely expected to keep its ultra-supportive policy unchanged and continue its bond-buying program even amid surging inflation.
“At some point, there will need to be a signal that the currently easy monetary conditions will be scaled back. The expectation is that the subject of tapering some of the relief has at least made its way to the table for discussion, if not immediate action,” said Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor, in a note to clients.
Elsewhere, U.K. consumer prices rose 2.1% on the year in May, the fastest pace of growth since July 2019, the Office for National Statistics said on Wednesday. The rise exceeded the Bank of England’s target for the first time in almost two years. But like the Fed and other central banks, U.K. officials have said they expect price rises to be transitory.
Germany’s Ifo Institute lowered its forecast for economic growth for the country in 2021 to 3.3% from 3.7% forecast in March, citing bottlenecks with supplies of intermediate products.
Economic data from China showed a moderating of growth in May , with industrial production, retail sales and fixed-asset investment all rising, but slowing from the pace seen in year-earlier periods.
Mining stocks fell after China’s state stockpiling body said on Wednesday that it will release national metals reserves such as copper and aluminum batches in the near future to keep supply and prices stable. Commodity prices have been soaring around the world as some economies speed up their recoveries from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shares of Anglo American /zigman2/quotes/201381512/delayed UK:AAL -8.07% fell 1.8% and Glencore /zigman2/quotes/201400686/delayed UK:GLEN -1.74% nearly 2%. Rio Tinto /zigman2/quotes/202627887/composite RIO -2.99% /zigman2/quotes/208934945/delayed UK:RIO -3.60% shares slipped 0.5%. Copper /zigman2/quotes/210054311/delayed HG00 -0.14% and palladium /zigman2/quotes/210237962/delayed PA00 +1.09% prices shifted lower on Wednesday.
Shares of German business software group SAP /zigman2/quotes/207905606/composite SAP -1.06% /zigman2/quotes/202053813/delayed XE:SAP -0.34% fell 0.5%, on the heels of results from U.S. rival Oracle /zigman2/quotes/202180826/composite ORCL -0.99% , which soundly beat expectations for earnings and sales to close out its fiscal year on Tuesday. However, Oracle shares slipped amid softer-than-anticipated guidance for the August quarter.