Global markets mixed after Fed keeps rate unchanged

February 1, 2018
A currency trader walks by screens showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI), left, and the foreign exchange rate between U.S. dollar and South Korean won at the foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018. Asian markets were mixed on Thursday with Tokyo stocks higher as the yen weakened against the U.S. dollar. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Global markets were mixed Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve left its benchmark interest rate unchanged and as investors monitored a raft of corporate earnings reports.

KEEPING SCORE: Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.1 percent to 7,523 while France’s CAC 40 gained 0.2 percent to 5,491. Germany’s DAX lost 0.3 percent to 13,155. Futures augured a tepid start on Wall Street with Dow futures down 0.1 percent and S&P futures up 0.1 percent.

FED RATE: The Fed kept its key rate in a still-low range of 1.25 percent to 1.5 percent and said in a statement that it expects inflation to finally pick up this year, stabilizing around the Fed’s target level of 2 percent. The Fed also indicated that it thinks the job market and the overall economy are continuing to improve.

ANALYST’S TAKE: “Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s last meeting prior to stepping down saw the Fed reinforcing their positive outlook over both the economy and inflation while unanimously voting to keep rates unchanged,” Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at IG in Singapore, said in a daily commentary.

EARNINGS: Company quarterly reports were largely upbeat, with stronger earnings from Daimler, Shell and Roche but weaker figures from Nokia. Investors were also still digesting the report from Facebook, which on Wednesday said its profits had risen in 2017 but that people were spending less time on the app after a change to the way material is shown.

ASIA’S DAY: Asian markets finished mixed. Japan’s Nikkei 225 jumped 1.7 percent to 23,486.11 and South Korea’s Kospi added 0.1 percent to 2,568.54. But Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.8 percent to 32,642.09 and China’s Shanghai Composite Index sank 1 percent to 3,446.98. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.9 percent to 6,090.10. Stocks in Southeast Asia were higher.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 46 cents to $65.19 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained 23 cents on Wednesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, advanced 4 cents to $69.06 per barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 109.62 yen from 109.20 yen. The euro strengthened to $1.2456 from $1.2411.

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