May 2, 2019: European stock markets diverged on Thursday, with interest rates in focus after an update from the Federal Reserve and before the Bank of England's latest assessments.
Frankfurt climbed and Paris fell with both markets resuming trades after the May Day holiday. London flattened awaiting the BoE's latest interest rate decision and economic forecasts due at 1100 GMT.
Asian stock markets mostly closed higher, while the dollar was mixed.
Investors brushed off Wednesday's retreat on Wall Street, where all three main indices fell after the Federal Reserve dented prospects for a possible cut in US interest rates.
Traders were jolted by Fed boss Jerome Powell's assessment Wednesday of recent weak US inflation as being only “transitory”.
The comments came after the Fed's latest policy meeting and sank faint hopes that the US central bank would announce a rate cut later in the year.
It went also against a call from US President Donald Trump to ease borrowing costs to help bolster the economy.
In London, the BoE is widely expected to keep its main interest rate at 0.75 percent alongside updated forecasts on British growth and inflation in the context of Brexit and a slowing global economy.
Elsewhere, there was optimism over the China-US trade talks, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin describing a high-level two-day meeting in Beijing as “productive”.
Chinese negotiators head to Washington next week for another round, with CNBC citing unnamed sources as saying a deal could be signed at the end of next week.
Oil prices meanwhile extended losses Thursday after data showed US crude inventories and production had jumped.
“Oil was already sliding on the run up to the Energy Information Administration report, and when the update showed that US oil and gas inventories jumped by 9.93 million barrels and 910,000 barrels respectively, the energy market continued to drop,” noted David Madden, analyst at CMC Markets UK.
Key figures around 1015 GMT
- London – FTSE 100: FLAT at 7,382.16 points
- Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.4 percent at 12,387.02
- Paris – CAC 40: DOWN 0.4 percent at 5,564.54
- EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.2 percent at 3,506.46
- Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 0.8 percent at 29,944.18 (close)
- Shanghai – Composite: Closed for holiday
- Tokyo – Nikkei 225: Closed for holiday
- New York – Dow: DOWN 0.6 percent at 26,430.14 (close)
- Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1203 from $1.1192 at 2050 GMT
- Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3056 from $1.3045
- Euro/pound: UP at 85.83 pence from 85.79 pence
- Dollar/yen: UP at 111.54 from 111.16
- Oil – Brent Crude: DOWN 81 cents at $71.37 per barrel
- Oil – West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 82 cents at $62.78