In European Equity Markets stocks extended gains on Wednesday, as energy stocks rose further on the back of a crude oil price rally, while investors were wary ahead of a FED meeting widely expected to result in unchanged interest rates. Carmaker Volkswagen also rose 3 percent after announcing its first quarterly loss in at least 15 years, with traders expressing relief that the results were not worse after it was hit by an emissions test cheating scandal. Shares in Fiat Chrysler fell more than 4 percent after the carmaker unexpectedly booked pre-tax charges of 761 million euros for possible future car recalls. The FTSEurofirst 300 was up 1.1 percent, more than recouping Tuesday’s 1 percent decline. The Euro STOXX 50 index rose 1.4 percent.
In US Equity Markets Wall Street was boosted by gains in Apple and energy stocks on Wednesday, ahead of the FED’s policy statement later in the day. Apple sold 48 million iPhones in the latest reported quarter and reported a near doubling of revenue from China, allaying concerns about its business in the world’s second-largest economy. The stock was up 2 percent, while IBM’s 2.3 percent rise gave the biggest boost to the Dow. The company said it would buy the Weather Company’s digital assets for an undisclosed amount. Twitter slumped 7.7 percent, while Akamai Technologies fell 19.8 percent after disappointing results. The S&P 500 was up 0.67 percent, at 2,079.78 and the Nasdaq composite index was up 0.59 percent, at 5,059.66.
In Currency Markets the dollar edged down against a basket of major currencies on Wednesday, as investors bet the U.S. FED would decline to raise interest rates for the first time since 2006 when it finishes a two-day meeting later in the day. Ahead of the statement the greenback edged down 0.1 percent against its basket to 96.774. The euro inched up to $1.10650, still close to a 2-1/2-month low of $1.0989 hit last week. The Swedish crown recovered from an initial dip after Sweden’s central bank expanded its asset purchase programme but declined to add a fourth interest rate cut to this year’s tally, trading up 0.6 percent at 9.3390 crowns per euro. The Norwegian crown fell as much as 1 percent on Wednesday to hit a four-week low of 9.4220 crowns per euro.
In Commodities Markets oil futures were up about 5 percent on Wednesday after the U.S. reported a crude inventory build that reversed bearish market expectations, extending gains from an earlier rally triggered by what was said to be a big algorithmic trade. Bets that the U.S. Federal Reserve will hold off for now on a U.S. rate hike weighed on the dollar, fueling price gains across commodities and adding to the oil rally. The U.S. Energy Information Administration added to the rally when it reported that crude stockpiles rose 3.4 million barrels last week. Brent was up $2.19 at $49.00 a barrel, after hitting a session high at $49.23 and U.S. crude rose $2.55 to $45.75 a barrel.
In Bond Markets U.S. Treasuries prices fell on Wednesday ahead of debt supply and before the Federal Reserve offers its latest policy statement that traders will scour for clues on the timing when it will begin raising interest rates. The Treasury Department will sell $35 billion in five-year debt and $15 billion in two-year floating-rate securities on Wednesday. It will auction $29 billion in seven-year notes on Thursday. On the open market, benchmark 10-year Treasuries notes fell 5/32 in price to yield 2.056 percent, up 3 basis points from late Tuesday. The 30-year bond was down 18/32 in price for a yield of 2.880 percent, up 3 basis points from Tuesday.