European markets head for choppy open as investors focus on Fed decision
- European stocks are expected to open flat to higher Wednesday as investor focus turns to the Federal Reserve's latest monetary policy decision.
- The U.K.'s FTSE index is seen opening unchanged at 7,229, Germany's DAX 44 points higher at 15,527, France's CAC 40 up 17 points at 6,922 and Italy's FTSE MIB 93 points higher at 26,652, according to data from IG.
LONDON — European stocks are expected to open flat to higher Wednesday as investor focus turns to the Federal Reserve's latest monetary policy decision.
The U.K.'s FTSE index is seen opening unchanged at 7,229, Germany's DAX 44 points higher at 15,527, France's CAC 40 up 17 points at 6,922 and Italy's FTSE MIB 93 points higher at 26,652, according to data from IG.
Investors are focused on central bank action this week with the U.S. Federal Reserve, the Bank of Japan, the Bank of England and the European Central Bank all due to announce monetary policy decisions.
The Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting, where policymakers were expected to discuss speeding up the end of its bond-buying program, concludes on Wednesday.
The central bank will release a statement on Wednesday with quarterly projections for the economy, inflation and interest rates. Chairman Jerome Powell will also hold a press conference.
Investors will be watching closely for commentary around whether the Fed plans to accelerate the end of its bond-buying program. At present, the central bank's asset purchase program will end in June 2022, but several officials have spoken about ending the purchases sooner.
The latest CNBC Fed Survey showed that investment professionals and economists expect the Fed to wind down its asset purchases by March and begin rate hikes in June.
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U.S. stock futures were steady in overnight trading on Tuesday as investors prepared for the highly anticipated Federal Reserve decision.
In Asia-Pacific markets overnight, mainland Chinese markets traded muted on Wednesday as investors digested key Chinese economic data. That included industrial output for November, which was up 3.8% year-on-year, more than the 3.5% increase in October, and better than the 3.6% expected in a Reuters poll.
Data also showed that retail sales in November rose 3.9% year-on-year, less than October's 4.9% increase, and below the expectations of 4.6% in a Reuters poll.
Investor sentiment is set to remain cautious after the World Health Organization on Tuesday warned the new Covid omicron variant is spreading faster than any previous strain, saying that the variant is probably present in most countries of the world.
Earnings come from Inditex and H&M on Wednesday. Data releases include inflation data for the U.K., France, Spain and Italy for November, and Greek unemployment data for October.
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– CNBC's Jesse Pound, Weizhen Tan and Pippa Stevens contributed to this market report.
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