Por Lawrence White
LONDON, Aug 18 (Reuters) – Stock and currency markets were stable on Wednesday as investors had little reason to move their assets ahead of the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve’s July meeting, which could offer clues. on when the central bank will start reducing its stimuli.
* European stocks were almost flat. The benchmark STOXX 600 index was up 0.05% after MSCI’s broad Asia-Pacific indicator – which does not include Japan – rose 0.43%, just above year-to-date lows.
* Oil, meanwhile, was recovering from four consecutive days of declines, amid concerns about the spread of COVID-19 that continues to affect the outlook for fuel demand. Brent crude rose as high as $ 1 on Wednesday, to hit the threshold of $ 70 a barrel.
* The dollar was trading close to a 4 1/2 month high against a basket of rival currencies as investors sought havens, weighing signs of global economic revival with concerns about rising cases of the Delta variant of the coronavirus.
* “In fact, we believe that some of the fears about Delta, especially in Europe, could be exaggerated, especially since countries like Germany or France have caught up in terms of vaccination rates,” said Matthias Scheiber, director of solutions for Wells Fargo multiple assets.
* The US stock markets appeared to be poised for an austere morning. S&P 500 futures were down as much as 0.08% after a Wall Street slide on Tuesday on weak retail sales figures.
* Meanwhile, the dollar weakened slightly after previously hitting a nine-month high against the euro.
* Eurozone bond yields eased but remained above the lows seen the day before, as investors sought to better support trends ahead of the release of the minutes of the last Fed meeting scheduled for the afternoon.