HONG KONG - World stock markets turned lower on Friday as investors speculated whether the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in coming months.
France’s CAC 40 shed 0.9 percent to 4,398 while Germany’s DAX lost 0.5 percent to 10,546. Britain’s FTSE 100 slipped 0.2 percent to 6,852.
U.S. stocks were poised to open lower, with Dow and S&P 500 futures both retreating 0.3 percent.
Investors were watching for the Fed’s next move after meeting minutes this week indicated policymakers felt another interest rates hike was warranted but left out any hint on timing. The next big chance to glean insight from U.S. central bank officials comes in a week’s time, with Fed chief Janet Yellen due to speak at an annual gathering of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming on Aug. 26.
Yellen is likely to say the process of raising rates will be “cautious and gradual but leave the impression that the Fed is on track to raise interest rates again this year,” Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital in Sydney, wrote in a report.
Oil’s rally fizzled out as European markets started trading, with benchmark U.S. crude sliding 13 cents to $48.09 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained $1.43 on Thursday, adding to days of gains. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 22 cents to $50.67 a barrel in London after jumping 2 percent the day before.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index added 0.4 percent to close at 16,545.82 as the yen came off its highest level against the dollar in three years, easing pressure on shares of the country’s export manufacturers. South Korea’s Kospi edged up less than 0.1 percent to 2,056.24 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.4 percent to 22,937.22 while the Shanghai Composite Index was up just 0.1 percent to 3,108.10. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.3 percent to 5,526.70. Singapore’s benchmark rose but those in Taiwan, Indonesia and the Philippines fell.
The dollar rose to 100.21 yen, as the Japanese currency gave up some gains. Earlier, the yen broke below the 100-yen mark, hitting its strongest level since October 2013, when it was worth about 120. The yen’s rise has made Japan’s exports more expensive and complicated efforts to revive growth. The euro slipped to $1.1327 from $1.1345.