Global stocks fell Thursday after the US Federal Reserve raised its key interest rate and the Bank of England revealed it was unexpectedly close to hiking its own benchmark rate at its policy meeting.
KEEPING SCORE: Germany’s DAX fell 0.9 percent to 12,690 while the CAC40 of France sank 1.1 percent to 5,188. The FTSE 100 of Britain dropped 1.1 percent to 7,393. US shares looked set to open lower, with Dow futures down 0.4 percent and S&P futures off 0.6 percent.
INTEREST RATES: The Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the third time since December, something investors had widely expected based on the Fed’s recent statements. Fed leaders, including Chair Janet Yellen, suggested they still expect to raise rates again later in the year. In Britain, the Bank of England saw three of its eight rate-setters vote for a rate increase, a fact that suggests a hike is much closer than many investors had expected.
GREECE DEBT: Attention in Europe will also turn to talks to get Greece the next batch of its rescue loans in time for it to avoid default in July. Greece also hopes to get a broad deal on debt relief at a meeting Thursday of finance ministers from the 19-country eurozone. The main obstacle to an agreement is a difference of opinion between the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund over Greece’s long-term debt outlook.
ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock index fell 0.3 percent to 19,831.82 and South Korea’s Kospi sank 0.5 percent to 2,361.65. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong dropped 1.2 percent to 25,565.34, but Shanghai’s Composite index rose 0.1 percent lower to 3,132.49. The S&P ASX 200 in Australia tumbled 1.2 percent to 5,763.20. Shares in Southeast Asia were mostly lower.
ENERGY: Oil futures had plunged overnight after the U.S. government said oil supplies shrank only slightly last week while gasoline stockpiles grew. Benchmark U.S. crude fell another 22 cents to $44.51 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 16 cents to $46.84 a barrel.
CURRENCIES: The pound rose almost a cent, from $1.2695 to $1.2781, after the Bank of England’s statement – currencies tend to rise when rates increase. The dollar rose to 110.09 from 109.57 yen. The euro dropped to $1.1158 from $1.1217.