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Global stocks sluggish ahead of Fed meeting

Investors now see a nearly 70% chance that the Fed will raise the rate by at least one percentage point by the end of the year, observes CME Group's Fed Watch tool

Global stocks sluggish ahead of Fed meeting

Global stocks sluggish ahead of Fed meeting 

Bangkok: Shares were mostly lower in Europe and Asia on Monday after Wall Street logged its worst week since the pandemic began in 2020. Shares fell in Paris, London and Frankfurt, but rose in Tokyo. Shanghai was little changed. Investors have been growing increasingly worried about how aggressively the Federal Reserve, which holds a policy meeting this week, might act to cool rising inflation.

Historically low interest rates, dubbed quantitative easing, or QE, have helped support the broader market as the economy absorbed a sharp hit from the pandemic in 2020 and then recovered over the last two years.

"The FOMC (Fed) meeting dominates the macro calendar this week and is likely to keep risk sentiment on the hesitant side with an end to QE and imminent rates hikes likely to be announced," economists Nicholas Mapa and Robert Carnell of ING said in a commentary.

Germany's DAX shed 1.1% to 15,431.03 while the CAC 40 in Paris gave up 1.4% to 6,971.19. In London, the FTSE 100 fell 0.7% to 7,447.03. The futures for the S&P 500 and the Dow industrials gained 0.3%. Some economists believe the Fed and other central banks need to move faster to tamp down surging prices by raising rates. U.S. consumer prices rose 7% in December compared to a year earlier, the biggest increase in nearly four decades. Rising costs are raising concerns that consumers will start to ease spending because of the persistent pressure on their wallets. At the same time, outbreaks of the omicron variant of the coronavirus are threatening to slow recoveries from the crisis.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index edged 0.2% higher to 27,588.37. Shares in electronics and energy giant Toshiba Corp. fell 1.6% after the company said it was suspending production at a factory in southern Japan that makes semiconductors for vehicles and machinery after a strong earthquake hit the region. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong shed 1.2% to 24,656.46. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.5% to 7,139.50 and India's Sensex dropped 2.7% to 57,419.98. South Korea's Kospi dropped 1.5% to 2,792.00 on heavy selling of big technology companies like Samsung and LG Chemical. Thailand's SET lost 0.7%. The Shanghai Composite index gained less than 0.1%, to 3,524.11. On Friday, the benchmark S&P 500 sank 1.9% to 4,397.94, falling 5.7% for the week in its worst weekly loss since March 2020. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index dipped 2.7% to 13,768.92. It has fallen for four straight weeks and is now more than 10% below its most recent high, putting it in what Wall Street considers a market correction. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.3% to 34,265.37. With investors expecting the Fed to begin raising rates as soon as its March policy meeting, costly shares in tech companies and other expensive growth stocks now look relatively less attractive.

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