NEW YORK: Stock markets edged higher and perceived safe-haven assets were steady on Wednesday as investors awaited news from the US Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting.
The Fed is expected to sound reassuringly accommodative at its policy review later in the day and perhaps open the door to a higher tolerance for inflation – something dollar bears think could squash real yields and sink the currency even further.
Investors are also focused on US Congress and White House as they clash over new measures to replace enhanced coronavirus unemployment benefits that are due to expire on Friday.
The market consensus is that a $1-trillion support package will be agreed, said David Riley, Chief Investment Strategist at BlueBay Asset Management. “I think that’s a kind of bare minimum and that won’t be the last that will be needed,” he said.
MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.29% following modest losses in Europe and Asia.
Deaths from the novel coronavirus in the United States registered their biggest one-day increase since May on Tuesday, with this month’s spike in infections having forced some states to make a U-turn on reopening their economies.
Asia and Europe have also been hit by new surges in Covid-19 infections, with several countries imposing new restrictions and Britain imposing 14-day quarantines on travellers from Spain.
“Global stock markets appear to be starting to get a little wobbly as the latest earnings numbers start to paint a picture of a global economy that could start to face a challenging time in the weeks and months ahead,” wrote Michael Hewson, Chief Market Analyst at CMC Markets UK.
Traditional safe-havens were mixed. Gold paused its rally and was down 0.2% at $1,954.33 an ounce.