The National Times - Eurozone stocks climb but London slips

Eurozone stocks climb but London slips

Eurozone stocks climb but London slips
Eurozone stocks climb but London slips

Eurozone stocks rose Thursday but London drooped as investors digested news that the Federal Reserve held off from a bigger interest rate hike last month owing to Ukraine turmoil, dealers said.

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Asian equities closed lower as investors examined minutes from the US central bank's March monetary policy gathering.

Oil prices recovered some of the previous day's heavy losses that had been triggered by concerns about weaker demand because of economic slowdown.

The Fed in March opted to raise US borrowing costs rates by a quarter percentage point, mindful of "greater near-term uncertainty associated with Russia's invasion of Ukraine".

Some policymakers had been in favour of lifting rates half a percentage point.

"As suspected, the war in Ukraine did temper the Federal Reserve's decision to hike rates at its meeting in March," said CMC Markets chief analyst Michael Hewson.

"However, an abundance of caution prompted them to stay their hand until events became clearer knowing that they had the option to go harder and faster later on."

- Inflation fight -

The prospect of rates rising at a quicker pace over the coming months has added to a wave of uncertainty across trading floors.

Central banks across the world are under fierce pressure to tackle runaway inflation, which has soared further on a Ukraine-driven spike in commodities like gas, oil and wheat.

March was the first Fed hike since it slashed US rates to zero when the Covid-19 pandemic broke out two years ago.

While current US data points to a healthy economy, commentators warn of possible hard times ahead.

Wall Street tumbled for the second day in a row on Wednesday, with the Nasdaq again losing more than two percent, as tech firms are more susceptible to higher rates.

In London on Thursday, shares in gambling group 888 surged 21 percent on the British capital's second-tier FTSE 250 index after the company won a discount on its planned purchase of the non-US operations belonging to rival William Hill.

- Key figures around 1115 GMT -

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.1 percent at 7,581.52 points

Frankfurt - DAX: UP 0.7 percent at 14,250.18

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.9 percent at 6,554.65

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.9 percent at 3,859.29

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 1.7 percent at 26,888.57 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 1.2 percent at 21,808.98 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 1.4 percent at 3,236.70 (close)

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.4 percent at 34,496.51 (close)

Brent North Sea crude: UP 1.2 percent at $102.27 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.1 percent at $97.26 per barrel

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.0889 from $1.0896 late Wednesday

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3072 from $1.3069

Euro/pound: DOWN at 83.30 pence from 83.37 pence

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 123.73 yen from 123.80 yen