LONDON (AP) — European stock markets pushed higher Thursday as traders had their first chance to respond to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s widely anticipated decision to cut its benchmark interest rate for the second time this year.
In Europe, Germany’s DAX was up 0.3% to 12,422 while the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares rose 0.7% to 7,367. France’s CAC 40 was 0.5% higher at 5,649. U.S. stocks were poised to open slightly lower at the bell, with Dow futures and the broader S&P down 0.1%.
In its policy statement accompanying its rate cut, the Fed failed to indicate whether more rate cuts were likely this year, though it did leave the door open for additional rate cuts if the economy weakens.
The Fed is trying to combat threats to the U.S. economy, including uncertainties caused by President Donald Trump’s trade war with China, slower global growth and a slump in American manufacturing.
The U.S. market is on track for a slight weekly loss after three consecutive weeks of gains driven by signs of an easing in tensions in the U.S.-China trade war.
“Everything feels a little flat in the markets after the Fed left investors deflated and frustrated, despite delivering the 25 basis point rate cut they demanded,” Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA, said.
“While investors may be frustrated about this, it’s probably not the worst approach as we don’t know how long the trade war will last, how much worse it will get and what the full consequences will be. “
The Fed wasn’t the only interest rate decision to be digested.
The Bank of England also kept its main interest rate on hold at 0.75% with rate-setters opting to sit tight while waiting for some Brexit clarity to emerge. U.K. stocks got a lift though by an indication that rate-setters were more likely to cut interest rates than raise them in the event the country leaves the European Union on the scheduled Brexit date of Oct. 31 without a deal.
“We don’t expect any significant moves on the policy front while Brexit continues to loom large on decision makers’ minds,” said David Cheetham, chief market analyst at XTB.
Japan’s central bank opted to keep its own monetary policy unchanged and its key interest rate at minus 0.1%. The decision came amid signs of weaker consumer demand and exports and dimming confidence in the business outlook.
In Asia, the Nikkei 225 index gained 0.4% to 22,044.45 while the Kospi in Seoul climbed 0.5% to 2,080.35. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 added 0.5% to 6,717.50, while late gains pushed the Shanghai Composite index up 0.5%, to 2,999.28. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng declined 1.0% to 26,480.74. Its monetary authority announced a quarter-percentage point rate cut on Thursday. The monetary authority routinely follows the Fed’s lead to keep the Hong Kong dollar rate steady against the U.S. dollar.
ENERGY: Oil prices rose again as traders continued to assess the impact of the attack on Saudi production over the weekend. Benchmark U.S. crude was up $1.16 a barrel at $59.27, while Brent crude, the international standard, rose $1.56 to $65.16.
CURRENCIES: The euro was up 0.3% at $1.1067 while the dollar fell 0.5% to 107.90 yen.