LONDON (Reuters): World stocks held near the previous day’s 11-week low on Thursday while the euro rose broadly as investors looked to the European Central Bank to signal a July interest rate hike at its meeting later.
Wall Street fell for a sixth day on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book offered fresh evidence of an economic slowdown. It reinforced Fed chief Ben Bernanke’s bearish assessment on growth on Tuesday.
The market’s mood soured when Bernanke gave no hint that the central bank would offer a third round of stimulus to an economy losing steam.
“The global economy is not tumbling, it’s just going through a turbulence zone. We think that things will get better in the second half of the year,” said Vincent Treulet, head of investment strategy at BNP Paribas Investment Partners, which has 551 billion euros ($808 billion) in assets under management.
“The next earnings season will be key. It could be the positive catalyst the market needs.” The MSCI world equity index was steady, having hit its lowest since March on Wednesday. The index has fallen 6.7 percent since hitting a three-year high in May.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.4 percent as recent losses attracted investors looking for a bargain.
Emerging stocks lost 0.3 percent. Shanghai stocks fell 1.7 percent to a 4-1/2 month low as concerns rose about further monetary policy tightening.
The euro rose 0.4 percent to $1.4640 ahead of the ECB meeting and President Jean-Claude Trichet’s news conference.
The ECB is expected to use higher staff inflation forecasts to be published on Thursday to justify a case for a tightening in July, a move that would further raise the single currency’s yield premium.
The euro has also remained unscathed by the euro zone’s sovereign debt crisis. In a report obtained by Reuters on Wednesday, the EU, ECB and IMF mission to Greece said the next disbursement of Greek aid could not take place until it corrected the under-financing in its adjustment program.
Policymakers appeared to be edging closer to a compromise on how to structure a second aid package to Greece, but markets remained skeptical over the immediate impact of any solution involving private sector bondholders.
The dollar fell 0.3 percent against a basket of major currencies.
Bund futures fell 10 ticks to 124.77.
U.S. crude oil rose 0.8 percent to $101.58 a barrel while Brent crude gained 0.4 percent to $118.32 after Saudi Arabia failed to convince OPEC members to raise output targets and data showed U.S. crude stocks fell sharply last week.