World Shares Mixed Ahead of Fed Meeting

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
The Associated Press
January 25, 2022 Updated: January 25, 2022

TOKYO—European stocks opened higher Tuesday after a day of steep losses in Asia as markets waited to hear from Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell after a two-day policy meeting that ends Wednesday.

The possibility of conflict between Russia and Ukraine and concern over coronavirus outbreaks also were adding to uncertainties.

France’s CAC 40 edged up 1.1 percent to 6,861.14 in early trading, while Germany’s DAX added 0.6 percent to 15,100.95. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.5 percent to 7,334.99. The future of the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 1.1 percent lower, while the S&P 500 future fell 1.6 percent.

On Monday, a late buying spree pushed the benchmark S&P 500 index to a 0.3 percent gain after pulling it out of so-called correction territory—a drop of 10 percent or more from its recent high.

The Fed meeting will provide an update on policymakers’ latest thinking on the economy and interest rates.

Some economists worry the Fed is moving too slowly in tamping down inflation by raising rates that have been kept low for nearly two years to support markets and economies slammed by the pandemic.

Others fret that the Fed may act too aggressively and could risk causing a recession without managing to cool inflation.

Meanwhile, tensions have soared between Russia and the West over fears that Moscow is planning to invade Ukraine, with NATO outlining potential troop and ship deployments.

The Pentagon ordered 8,500 troops on higher alert to potentially deploy to Europe as part of a NATO “response force” to a military move on Ukraine.

Asian shares declined as Japan made official a government plan to expand areas where pandemic restrictions are being advised to help curb the spread of COVID-19. That will again put a damper on business activity and travel.

Toyota Motor Corp.’s shares fell nearly 1.8 percent after Japan’s top automaker said further adjustments to its production in Japan were needed because of a shortfall in computer chips from disruptions related to COVID-19 restrictions and infections. Toyota has apologized for keeping customers waiting for its products.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped 1.7 percent to finish at 27,131.34. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 dropped 2.5 percent to 6,961.60. South Korea’s Kospi lost 2.6 percent to 2,720.39. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 1.7 percent to 24,243.61, while the Shanghai Composite dipped 2.6 percent to 3,433.06.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude added $1.00 to $84.31 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It tumbled $1.83 to $85.31 on Monday.

Brent crude, the basis for pricing international oil, rose $1.10 to $87.37 a barrel.

In currency trading, the U.S. dollar rose to 114.14 Japanese yen from 113.96 yen. The euro cost $1.1284, down from $1.1326.

By Yuri Kageyama