European markets were trading flat on Wednesday’s session ahead of European Central Bank rates decision and American inflation data. Treasuries rose and the dollar was steady.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index advanced for the first time in three days, led by real-estate and construction-company shares. While futures on the S&P 500 edged higher as investors seemed to look past the Trump administration’s threat of new tariffs on European goods and the IMF’s gloomy growth forecasts. Network International shares surged in London after the payments processor raised 1.1 bn pounds ($1.4 billion) in Europe’s biggest IPO this year.
Shares fell in Japan and Hong Hong Kong earlier, while Chinese and Korean equities rose. Ten-year Treasury yields fell below 2.5%.
Sentiment remains fragile, with the IMF’s somber report on global growth highlighting fears about the outlook for the world economy that has simmered for months. The US appeared to open another front in its trade dispute with the European Union, while negotiations with China remain unsettled. Federal Reserve minutes, American inflation data and the ECB rates decision Wednesday could add to anxieties or help provide calm, with investors also focusing on the first-quarter earnings season gets underway this week.
Elsewhere, Israeli stocks and the shekel climbed as Benjamin Netanyahu looks set for a fifth term as prime minister after a bruising election campaign. Oil futures gained as speculation that supplies will tighten outweighed Russian caution on more output cuts. China’s benchmark yield rose to the highest this year.