European markets wait for Fed

European stocks are expected to open higher Wednesday as investors await the outcome of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting and economic forecasts.

London’s FTSE is seen opening 18 points higher at 6,356, Germany’s DAX is seen 63 points higher at 12,706 while France’s CAC 40 is expected to open 30 points higher at 5,126 and Italy’s FTSE MIB up 154 points at 20,037, according to IG.

Global markets on Wednesday will be focused on the Fed’s latest policy meeting. U.S. stock futures rose slightly in overnight trading as investors await clarity on the state of the economy from the Fed.

The central bank’s two-day meeting concludes Wednesday with the release of a policy statement and the quarterly summary of economic projections, then Chairman Jerome Powell’s news conference at 2:30 pm EST. 

The Fed is not expected to make any major policy changes, with its benchmark rate near zero and the asset purchasing programs continuing. However, investors will be watching for hints on how long its current policy will remain in place, and for its forecast for the economy and interest rates, its first since late last year.

Meanwhile, stocks in Asia Pacific edged mostly higher in Wednesday morning trade, as Chinese inflation data for May missed expectations.  

Its producer price index for May fell 3.7% from a year earlier, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics. That was a larger decline that the 3.3% fall expected by analysts in a Reuters poll.  Meanwhile, its consumer price index rose 2.4% year on year in May, less than a 2.7% increase estimated by economists in a Reuters poll.

In Europe, Inditex releases first quarter earnings Wednesday and the OECD releases its latest economic outlook. There are no major data releases.

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