LONDON – Global stocks fell on Thursday as investors trimmed their exposure to riskier assets after central bank minutes revealed a wary take on the economic outlook from ratesetters on both sides of the Atlantic.
The European Central Bank expressed caution about removing monetary stimulus too soon following a recent bounce in the euro, the record of its last meeting showed – hitting the single currency along with the region’s equity markets.
U.S. shares were set to follow suit, extending losses a day after a similarly downbeat message in minutes from the Federal Reserve, where some policymakers cautioned against rate rises while U.S. inflation remained weak.
As money market futures FFF8 cut their expectations of a U.S. rate hike by December to 40 percent from just under 50 percent before the Fed’s minutes, futures for the blue-chip S&P 500 ESc1 shed 0.2 percent in pre-market trade.
The NASDAQ index was set to open 0.4 percent lower after technology giant Cisco (CSCO.O) reported weak results after Wednesday’s close.
In Europe, the broad Stoxx 600 index was down 0.1 percent, snapping a three-day winning streak.
The UK’s FTSE 100 .FTSE fell 0.4 percent, Germany’s DAX .GDAXI 0.1 percent and France’s CAC 40 .FCHI 0.2 percent.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision on Wednesday to disband two business councils after a number of its members quit in protest over his comments about white nationalists also continued to weigh on stock valuations.
“Trump dissolving his major business groups makes the investment community even more pessimistic because this sets the stage for even more failure for him,” said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets in London.
The dollar erased much of its overnight losses, however.
It jumped 0.4 percent against a trade-weighted basket of other currencies .DXY and 0.8 percent against the euro, which hit a three-week low following news of the concern about its gains from within the ECB.
“The euro has shot down as a result. It is a good question of how much further we will go. The reality is the ECB is definitely more concerned than the market gave it credit for,” said Simon Derrick, chief market analyst with Bank of New York Mellon in London.
“I think it is entirely possible you could see further downward pressure on the euro.”
In commodities, palladium hit a 16-year high, tracking a rally in other base metals.
London copper, aluminum and zinc were just off multi-year highs on expectation that a reform of the metals industry in China will curb supply against a backdrop of robust demand.
Oil prices were steady after U.S. data showed a fall in crude stockpiles but also an increase in production, taking crude output to its highest in more than two years.
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Reporting by Alasdair Pal, additional reporting by Patrick Graham in London; editing by John Stonestreet (Reuters)