US stock indices logged in small gains during a relatively quiet New York session, as traders are probably positioning carefully ahead of central bank statements. The Bank of Canada decided to keep their benchmark rate unchanged at 0.50% as expected while the Reserve Bank of New Zealand announced a 0.25% rate cut to 2.25%. The ECB monetary policy statement is scheduled today and an expansion of their current quantitative easing program is eyed.
The Dow 30 index closed 36.26 points up to 17,000.36 (+0.21%), the S&P 500 index was up 10.00 points to 1,989.26 (+0.51%), and the Nasdaq ended 25.55 points up to 4,674.38 (+0.55%). The S&P 500 VIX, which is considered a gauge of market uncertainty, dropped 0.33 points to 18.34 (-1.77%) to indicate that risk appetite is still present.
Stocks indices in Europe also managed to post small gains, as businesses could welcome additional stimulus from the ECB. The German DAX is up 30.27 points to 9,723.09 (+0.31%), the French CAC 40 is up 21.63 points to 4,425.65 (+0.49%), and the Euro Stoxx 50 index is up 17.09 points to 3,019.10 (+0.57%).
Asian markets mixed after Chinese CPI
China printed its latest CPI reading and showed an upside surprise of a jump from 1.8% to 2.3% instead of holding steady as expected. Its PPI, however, showed a 4.9% decline as expected, still an improvement from the previous 5.3% year-over-year drop in producer price levels.
These upbeat inflation reports lowered the odds of additional easing from the Chinese central bank, putting a bit of dent on business confidence. The Shanghai Composite index slipped 1.20% after the announcement while the Hong Kong Hang Seng index managed to squeeze out a 0.60% gain.
The Nikkei 225 index is up 244.31 points to 16,886.51 (+1.47%) but the China A50 index is down 96.21 points to 9,291.58 (-1.02%). In New Zealand, the DJ New Zealand index is up 0.93 points to 212.80 (+0.44%) as investors cheered the RBNZ’s decision to lower borrowing costs and spur lending activity. In Australia, the S&P ASX 200 index is down 2.99 points to 5,154.20 (-0.06%).
Meanwhile, commodity prices held on to their gains, with WTI crude oil up to $38.23/barrel and Brent crude oil at $40.90/barrel on reports that Saudi Arabia might be seeking concessions to come up with an agreement with its fellow OPEC nations to stabilize prices.
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